Health officials warn of rabid cat found in Collegeville

COLLEGEVILLE — Montgomery County officials are warning the public that a rabid cat was found on East Fifth Avenue in the borough.

A flyer sent out by the county commissioners is asking that anyone who has been bitten, scratched or had saliva exposure to a stray cat receive treatment for the potentially-fatal disease and also contact the Montgomery County Health Department at 610-278-5117.

This is the third confirmed case of rabies in the county this year. The first case was a skunk found in Upper Dublin and the second was a fox found in Worcester on April 1.

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Montgomery County Communications Director Frank Custer said the county counts only those cases in which an animal is sent for rabies testing and confirmed as rabid by either the state Public Health Laboratory or the Department of Agriculture Laboratory.

Signs of rabies in an animal can include a change in the animal’s behavior to unusually aggressive or unusually tame. Physical symptoms shown include staggering, convulsions, spitting, choking, frothing at the mouth and paralysis. Many infected animals die within a week of showing symptoms.

According to the website for the Centers for Disease Control, the first symptoms of rabies in humans may be flu-like and include fever or headache. Rabies in humans is preventable, and if you have been bitten by an animal suspected to have rabies it is important to go to a hospital to be examined.

If bitten, it is important to contact the Montgomery County Health Department so an “epidemiological investigation can begin to determine if post-rabies injections are required.”

According to CDC’s website, rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system, causing “disease in the brain” and ultimately death.

The Montgomery County Health Department website shows there are four upcoming rabies clinics for pets in June — June 7 at the Abington recycling center, June 14 at Collegeville Community Park, June 21 at Encore Experiences in Harleysville and June 28 at Padden Park in West Norriton. All of the clinics will run from 9 to 11 a.m.