Possible Rabies Outbreak

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

October 12, 2007

Two animals have tested positive for rabies so far, but health officials worry those two animals could have been in contact with dozens more. Now they're rushing to stop the possible spread of the possible fatal disease.

“It's going to be a long hard process,” said Erik Weaver, Madison County Sheriff.

One rabid cat and rabid skunk are forcing deputies and animal control to aggressively diminish a sizeable stray cat population.

“Some people have ten, twenty, up to thirty cats at their residents,” explained Weaver.

County officials admit it's a problem, but their working hard to keep residents safe. Since the first case of rabies surfaced on Fishback Road, they've started trapping the homeless cats and so far, they've picked up 50.

Testing each cat would cost over a $100 a piece and it could take weeks before the disease even shows up, so once the stray is trapped it's euthanized.

“We're animal loving people here in the community and rural county and try to take care of our animals, but sometimes it just gets out of control and now we just have to step in and try to bring things back into control and that's what we're trying to do now,” Weaver said.

More traps are being set in these areas to capture the possible diseased animals and until the problem is solved, health officials are warning people to be extra careful.

“Rabies is almost always fatal, there's only one reported known case of somebody surviving it, in animals and humans, if untreated,” said Dwayne Dixon, with the Madison Count Health Department.

Dixon suggests taking all dog food or cat food in at night, to protect your pet, because rabies is spread through saliva.

If you live with in 5 miles of the affected area and have stray cats on your property, Madison County Sheriff's Department said give them a call and they will come set a trap.

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