(Washington, DC) - DC Department of Health officials announced today that a sick kitten, black with brown markings (tortoise shell coloring), bit several residents at the Anacostia Farmers' Market at 14th and U Sts., SE from September 5-8. The kitten has since tested positive for rabies.
A resident, three of her friends and a veterinarian sought to help the sick kitten and were bitten in the process. The kitten was found to be positive for rabies on September 17, 2007.
The victims are all undergoing rabies prophylaxis treatment. DOH Animal Control staff distributed and posted flyers in the area of the Farmer’s Market yesterday and today and advises the community that anyone who had contact with the kitten should contact the Department of Health’s 24-hour animal hotline immediately at (202) 576-6664.
“Our Animal Control staff is educating residents about rabies and the dangers of handling stray and wild animals, and has initiated a trapping plan to capture any remaining cats in the area,” said Gregg A, Pane, MD, DOH Director. “We continue to advise our residents that rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs are required by District law. We encourage all residents to vaccinate their pets and keep them from wandering freely around neighborhoods.”
DOH is conducting free vaccination clinics over the next two weekends to ensure that residents have an opportunity to keep their pets up to date on their required rabies vaccination.
Free clinics will be held at the following dates and locations:
At this time, no reports have been received of persons with rabies-related illnesses associated with this cat or others in that area. The DOH is asking residents and visitors not to approach cats and kittens in this, or any other stray colony.
- Ward 6, Saturday, September 22, 9 am – 11 am., at the Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E St, SE
- Ward 8, Saturday, September 22, Noon – 3 pm., Young’s Memorial Church lot, 2488 Alabama Ave., SE;
- Ward 5, Saturday, September 29, 9 am. – 4 pm, DC. Animal Shelter, 1201 New York Avenue, NE.
Rabies is a fatal disease transmitted from animals to humans, caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, causing convulsions, paralysis and finally death.
The virus is present in the saliva of a rabid animal and is transmitted primarily by animal bites and rarely by contamination of open wounds, fresh abrasions or mucous membranes.
The virus can affect all warm-blooded animals, but it is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Dogs and cats may contract rabies if they have not been vaccinated against it.
For more information, call the DOH Animal Control Bureau at (202) 535-2323.