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Dozens exposed to rabies after animal bites

A rabid kitten has exposed many people to rabies after it was brought to a local school this month. Health officials are investigating and are trying to determine the actual number of people and other animals who may have been exposed to the infected feline. In New Jersey, animal bites from cats have accounted for 85 percent of the rabies cases reported since 1989. This is attributed to the lack of vaccinations and the fact that cats are notorious roamers.

Officials estimate that dozens of people over three New Jersey counties may have been in contact with the ailing cat. The kitten was euthanized after it began showing symptoms of rabies. This disease is deadly and attacks the nervous system, and it is often transmitted through contact with the infected animal, such as from scratches and bites. 

The State Public Health Veterinarian states that over the past five years, about 20 cats have been infected. He goes on to say that human treatment is 100 percent effective when diagnosed. Symptoms include pain in the area of the bite or scratch, fever, lethargy, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms can develop from 12 days to six months after being exposed.

When someone is exposed and suffers animal bites, they are urged to contact health care officials. Everyone should use care when approaching an unfamiliar animal -- some will appear normal and healthy and never exhibit vicious or aggressive behavior. New Jersey is a strict liability state regarding animal bites, and owners may be held accountable. When faced with injuries due to an animal bite, it may be in a victim's best interest to seek professional advice from a personal injury attorney.

Source: SOURCE NEEDED, "Kitten creates possible exposure to rabies for people in three counties", Isaac Avilucea, Nov. 30, 2017

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