A cat in Anne Arundel tested positive for rabies last week. The cat, a grey and black tiger striped domestic shorthair tabby was near Hamlen Road in Glen Burnie and the AA Dept. of Health is looking for anyone who may have had contact with it. Get the basic facts about this preventable disease but once symptoms begin, nearly universally fatal.
What are Rabies Symptoms in People?
The rabies virus infects the brain but the earliest symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses with only non-specific fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. Later, the disease progresses to insomnia, anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, increase in saliva and difficulty swallowing. According to the CDC, death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.
Is it Common in Anne Arundel County?
According to the AA Dept of Health, there were 35 confirmed cases of animal rabies last year (24 bats, 9 raccoons, one fox and one cat). As of July 11, 2016, there have been 6 confirmed cases of animal rabies reported (2 raccoons, 2 bats and 2 cats).
Which Animals Spread Rabies?
When to See a Doctor
It is always important to see a doctor if you are bitten by any animal. In addition to rabies, not-rabid animals often spread other bacterial illnesses which are best treated even before symptoms begin.
In some situations, you should see a doctor even if you aren’t sure if you were bitten. The CDC recommends that anyone who awakens to find a bat in your room should be treated for rabies. Likewise, young kids or people with disabilities that can’t reliably report if they were bitten by a bat (found in the room) should also be treated.
Treatments and drugs
Once rabies has started, there is no known treatment. A very few people have survived but it is almost always fatal. This is why even if you just THINK you’ve been exposed to rabies, you should be immediately evaluated and consider getting the series of rabies vaccines to prevent the infection from starting.
Rabies shots include:
- A fast-acting shot (rabies immune globulin) to prevent the virus from infecting you.
- Part of this injection is given near the area where the animal bit you if possible, as soon as possible after the bite.
- A series of rabies vaccines to help your body learn to identify and fight the rabies virus.
- Rabies vaccines are given as injections in your arm.
- You receive 4 injections over 14 days.
If you are concerned that you might have rabies, contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. If your pet was bitten or scratched, you should call County Animal Control at 410-222-8900.