A feral cat from the central Cate Road area near Brunswick has tested positive for rabies, the Glynn County Health Department said Wednesday.
Two adult residents were scratched by the cat and have been referred to their health care provider for possible post-exposure rabies treatment, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Coastal Health District.
Health officials urged anyone else who had exposure to feral cats in the area to contact their doctor for further guidance.
Several species of wild animals in coastal Georgia — including raccoons, foxes and bats — can carry rabies, and feral cats and dogs can carry rabies, as well. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals.
Health officials offered these tips to protect people from rabies:
- Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
- Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every one to three years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
- Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis. If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and call Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Environmental Health Office at 912-279-2940.