The Allegheny County Health Department is urging anyone who may have been bitten by a gray cat in the 7300 block of Denniston Avenue or the surrounding area in Swissvale between Nov. 16 and 26 to call the health department at 412-687-ACHD.
The cat tested positive for rabies after biting a woman on Monday, Nov. 26. It bit the woman after being hit by a car and was then taken to a veterinarian’s office where it was subsequently euthanized.
The woman exposed to the rabid cat is being treated with anti-rabies vaccine as a precaution and not expected to develop rabies.
“We’re encouraging anyone else who may have been bitten or scratched by this cat to come forward, so they can be evaluated and treated if necessary,” said Dr. Ron Voorhees, acting health director.
Rabies exposures typically occur through a break in the skin that comes in contact with an infected animal’s saliva. The disease is almost always fatal when left untreated.
Health officials warn people to avoid contact with all stray dogs and cats, even when they appear healthy. It’s possible they might have had contact with wild animals, especially raccoons, and may have become infected with the rabies virus but not yet have any outward signs or symptoms of the disease.
The cat is the first rabid cat reported in the county this year. Fifteen other rabid animals were previously reported—eight raccoons and seven bats.