Rabid Cat Causing Concern in Niagara County

August 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2010 at 9:23 AM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Rabid Cat Causing Concern in Niagara County

August 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2010 at 9:23 AM EDT

NEWFANE, NY (WKBW) - The Niagara County Health Department is seeking the person who dropped off a 10 to 12 week-old grayish-brown, Himalayan/Siamese mix cat at 7347 Gow Road in the Town of Newfane last week.

Health Department officials say the cat was found to be rabid, and the Department of Health has expressed serious concern for any individual(s) who have handled or had contact with the cat within the past few weeks.

Health Department officials warn that humans who are scratched, bitten or exposed to saliva from rabid animals can develop rabies infection.

To prevent rabies, exposed individuals must get care before symptoms develop. Symptoms in humans may take from several days to more than a year to appear. After the symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal.

Symptoms include pain and numbness t the site of the bite followed by other signs and symptoms that are often confused with those of other conditions, including:

- Fever
- Cough or sore throat
- Pain, burning, itching, tingling, or numbness at the site of the bite or exposed area
- Abdominal pain
- Anxiety or restlessness that gradually gets worse and may become extreme agitation
- Hallucinations
- Delirium
- Fear of water (hydrophobia) or fear of air (aerophobia)
- Muscle spasms in the face, neck, and/or diaphragm, followed by seizures
- Paralysis
- Wide fluctuations in temperature, pulse, and blood pressure
- Coma
- Heart and respiratory failure

Medical care to prevent rabies is advised as soon as possible after an exposure occur. The Niagara County Department of Health needs to evaluate the individual(s) who may have been exposed to the rabid cat.

Anyone with information or who may know who turned the cat in is asked to call 439-7444 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. or 439-7430 during off hours.