Health Department issues rabies warning after Charlotte outbreak

Published 8:33 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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Keep your pets inside. That’s the message issued by the Piedmont Health District to folks in the Randolph area. On Friday, April 26, district officials issued a warning to anyone living in or visiting the area near Scuffletown Road and Harrisburg Road. The reason is due to a problem with rabies. 

“Efforts are being taken to corral a group of feral cats where one cat has tested positive for rabies,” health district officials said. 

On April 23, multiple community members were exposed to the rabid cat, district officials said. They added all of the individuals have been referred for medical treatment. 

To be clear, rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. Any person or family pet bitten or scratched by an animal should be reported to the local health department. That way they can determine any risk of rabies exposure and give recommendations for medical care.

The Piedmont Health District encourages everyone to vaccinate their pets, to protect them, family members, loved ones and the community at large from rabies. Virginia law requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies.

In addition to keeping pets vaccinated and keeping vaccinations current, take these steps to protect families and pets from exposure to rabies:  

  • Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons and skunks, or stray cats and dogs;
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For additional information, click here or call the Piedmont Health District (434) 392-8187, ext. 137.