NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. The Westchester County Department of Health is issuing a rabies alert to residents who may have been in contact with a rabid cat in New Rochelle. The cat has been in the vicinity of Kress Avenue near the intersection of Webster and Lincoln Avenue on or before Wednesday. The health department used robo-calls to notify residents who live within a half-mile of the area where the cat was found.
When you see a stray or wild animal acting strangely, its best to avoid contact with the animal and alert local authorities to avoid possible exposure to rabies, said Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County Health Commissioner. Luckily, this cat was captured without having exposed anyone to rabies that we are aware of at this point.
The cat was a red tabby that had been acting aggressively towards other animals and people. The health department has been informed that a colony of stray cats in this area may have come into contact with this cat. The health department is investigating and warns residents to avoid having contact with these stray cats, as well as with any other unknown or wild animals. Residents are also reminded not to feed wild or stray animals to avoid bringing rabies to their doorsteps.
Anyone who thinks they or a pet may have had contact with the rabid cat should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment. Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted, according to the health department.
Direct contact with wild or stray animals, even baby animals, is inadvisable, said the department. All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health. Keeping pet rabies vaccinations up to date is also important for protection against rabies. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots.
For more information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.
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