UPDATE: Six people possibly exposed to rabid cat in Chesapeake community

Posted at 3:21 PM, Nov 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-21 13:09:31-05

Chesapeake, Va. - The Chesapeake Health Department is still investigating the exposures of six people to a rabid cat in neighborhoods near Kempsville Road and Butts Station Road.

The DOH confirms that there are now six potential exposures, with the latest possible case being a person scratched by a stray cat on November 12th in the Norcova Estates neighborhood.

The first exposures happened on Long Beeches Avenue and several other streets in the Warrington Hall community. The cat was a female domestic medium haired black and white cat, with yellow eyes.

The Virginia Department of Health says there could be a second infected cat and they have exposed their warnings to the Norcova Estates and Wynngate Place communities.

Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite.

“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical. Rabies is highly preventable if vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100% of cases”, said Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, health director for the Chesapeake Health Department.

The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

The Health Director strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Chesapeake residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:

  •  If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the Chesapeake Animal Control at (757) 382-8080 or the Chesapeake Health Department at (757) 382-8672.
  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. Please consult your veterinarian or the Chesapeake Health Department if you have any questions about pet vaccinations.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
  • State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies.

For more information on rabies, contact the Chesapeake Health Department at (757) 382--8672 or Animal Control at (757) 382-8080 or log onto Virginia Department of Health's website at or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website at