Chesapeake, Va. (WTKR) - The Chesapeake Health Department says an injured cat that attacked customers in front of two businesses had rabies.
Health officials are now trying to track down those customers who may have been exposed.
"It’s really important we find these people because rabies is 100% fatal when symptoms start showing up. When an animal is rabid and it bites or scratches you, you’ve got to get the treatment. When the symptoms start, it’s too late," Epidemiologist Lisa Engle told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Monday.
The cat was found near the intersection of Campostella Road and Border Road.
Officials say the black and white cat with short hair had a broken front paw and attacked people in the parking lot of the Family Dollar Store and the Easy Go Market.
The attacks happened on April 17 and 18, but officials say the cat may have been rabid since April 10.
Chesapeake Health Department officials say if you or anyone you know made contact with the cat, please call Chesapeake Animal Control at 757-382-8081 or the Chesapeake Health Department at 757-373-7490.
Being exposed to an animal with rabies is very serious. Exposure happens to humans when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane.
Rabies is preventable if the vaccine is given early and as recommended. Without treatment, the disease can be fatal.
The Health Department provided this information that Chesapeake residents can use to protect their families and pets from rabies:
- 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
- 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
- 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.