A person in Wake Forest was bitten by a rabid kitten on Tuesday, Wake County officials said.
The person was receiving treatment after being bitten by a kitten near Height Lane in Wake Forest June 19. Test results released on Wednesday showed that the cat tested positive for rabies.
Wake County Animal Control asked residents to be wary of stray cats, since the chance of encountering animals with rabies statistically increases in warmer weather.
In May, two other Wake County residents were bitten by rabid cats in Apex.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease that can infect both humans and animals, according to the Wake County Animal Center. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and is transmitted through close contact with an infected animal — usually through a bite or a scratch.
If an exposed person or animal is not treated quickly after becoming infected, the virus is fatal.
Rabies is common in wildlife in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Rabies vaccines for pets are required by law in North Carolina.
The most commonly rabies-infected domesticated animal is the cat, the animal center said.
The rabies virus is transmitted through contact with saliva and brain/nervous system tissue that may enter the body through a bite wound, scratch, open cuts in the skin, and through mucous membranes such as the mouth or eyes, the animal center said.
The Wake County Animal Center holds rabies clinics throughout the county, offering rabies vaccines for $5. Other organizations statewide provide low-cost rabies vaccines.
To avoid potential rabies risk, officials recommend :
- Keep pets in a fenced-in area or on a leash.
- Don’t leave pet food outside because it will attract wildlife.
- Do not ever approach wild animals.
- Report animals showing signs of rabies to local animal control.
If your pet is bitten by a rabid animal, call animal control right away. Pets with a rabies vaccine need a booster shot within 72 hours of a bite.
If you or someone you know if bitten by a potentially rabid animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water and contact a doctor.
Officials asked that Wake County residents leave wildlife and other stray animals alone and call animal control at 919-856-6911 if they believe an animal has rabies.