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Community Safety Alert: Rabies In Kitten Threatens Health In Douglas County

Health officials in Douglas County warn residents to be cautious when contacting animals after discovering a stray kitten was infected with rabies. They report that the ten individuals who may have come into contact with the kitten have all started rabies preventive treatment.

Rabies is a virus-based disease that can be avoided and is fatal. It can spread to people and animals if an infected animal bites or scratches them. The rabies virus has an impact on the central nervous system.

If a person cannot receive the appropriate medical care following a potential rabies exposure, it could result in the virus entering the brain and ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be avoided through pet immunizations, avoidance of wildlife interaction, and prompt medical intervention after suspected exposures, even before symptoms show up.

Warning Of Kitten Infected With Rabies

The most typical way that rabies spreads to humans is through animal bites. There is a theoretical possibility that rabies could be acquired by non-bite exposures such as scratches, abrasions, or open wounds exposed to saliva or other possibly infectious material from a rabid animal, despite being extremely improbable.

Other encounters, such as caressing a rabid animal or coming into contact with its blood, urine, or dung, aren’t thought to pose a risk of infection and shouldn’t raise any alarm.

Kitten Infected With Rabies

There haven’t been any confirmed examples of rabies being spread via bite or non-bite exposures from an infected person. The risk of infection is not increased by innocuous contact, such as touching a person who has rabies or coming into contact with non-infectious fluid. The risk of contracting rabies does not exist when there is contact with someone who is receiving rabies immunization.

The kitten, which was estimated to have been between one and two months old, had no known past. The kitten was found to have a raccoon-specific strain of rabies, which is uncommon west of Appalachia. According to the Health Department, the Nebraska Humane Society should be contacted instantly if any domestic or wild animals are discovered to be deceased or to be acting abnormally.

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The Health Department and its local partners will conduct expanded monitoring tests on potentially rabid animals to ascertain whether this particular type of rabies has spread further in the neighborhood.

Director of the Health Department Lindsay Huse urged locals to ensure their pets have received all necessary rabies vaccinations. If a pet owner is uncertain about their pet’s condition, they should consult their veterinarian.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reports that sixteen animal cases of rabies have been documented in the state so far this year. Only two of those creatures weren’t bats. In the previous three years, tests for the ailment were positive in 21 and 30 animals per year.

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 The updated recommendations of the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) decrease the recommended dosage of vaccines by half to four. The reduction in doses suggested for PEP was supported, in part, by information on the pathophysiology of the rabies virus, research on experimental animals, clinical investigations, and epidemiologic surveillance.

These investigations showed that a fifth dose of the vaccination did not result in better results and that four vaccine doses in conjunction with rabies immune globulin (RIG) induced appropriate immune responses. The shortened schedule of 4 intramuscular 1-mL doses of HDCV or PCECV should be used for those who have never received rabies vaccination.

Ideally, the first dose of the 4-dose course should be given on day 0 following exposure. Then, on the third, seventh, and fourteenth days following the initial immunization, further doses should be given. 

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