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Sick cat in Dorchester tests positive for rabies

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Anyone who may have been in contact with a cat matching this description after Thanksgiving is urged to call the Boston Public Health Commission’s Infectious Disease Bureau at 617-534-5611 and their healthcare provider.

This stray male cat, an unneutered orange and white domestic shorthair, was confirmed positive for rabies this week. Boston Public Health Commission

A stray cat in Dorchester has been confirmed rabies positive, the Boston Public Health Commission revealed this week.

Boston Animal Care and Control Division responded to a call about a sick cat in front of 132 Glenway St. on Monday at around 3:20 p.m.

The cat, an unneutered male orange and white domestic shorthair, was exhibiting atypical neurologic behavior, the commission said.

The cat was evaluated at Angell Animal Medical Center and later confirmed rabies positive by the state rabies lab.

Anyone who may have been in contact with a cat matching this description in the past 21 days or after Thanksgiving, especially if they have been bitten or scratched, is urged to call the Boston Public Health Commission’s Infectious Disease Bureau at 617-534-5611 and their healthcare provider to report the exposure and get treatment if necessary.

Anyone who recognizes the cat should contact Boston Animal Control at 617-635-5348. Residents are also reminded to call Boston Animal Control if they ever see a wild or unknown domestic animal that appears to be sick, injured, or behaving oddly.

The commission reminds the public that rabies is an urgent medical matter, so decisions should not be delayed if there are concerns about exposure.

“Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease,” the commission noted. “It can spread to people and pets if bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. It is also possible, but rare, for people to get rabies from non-bite exposures, which can include scratches, abrasions, or open wounds that are exposed to saliva or other potentially infectious material from a rabid animal.  Rabies in humans is preventable through prompt appropriate medical care and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).”

Massachusetts law requires that residents vaccinate any domestic pets that are six months or older.

More information about rabies can be found at boston.gov/rabies and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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