By Molly Daly
WILMINGTON, DE (CBS) — Health officials in Delaware said at least six people in a Wilmington suburb were bitten or scratched recently by a cat that turned out to be rabid. Now, authorities want to hear from anyone else who may have had contact with the cat.
The cat was captured last week on Cedar Avenue in Cedar Heights, south of Wilmington, and tested positive for rabies. Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says the black and white domestic short-hair didn’t exhibit classic signs of rabies:
“This animal apparently was pretty docile,” said Rattay. “And to the degree where people came up to the animal to pet the animal, and were unaware that this cat was any different, and then the cat either bit or scratched them.”
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva, so even a scratch from a rabid animal can put you at risk.
“Our biggest concern at this point is there may be many more than six people who have been scratched or bitten by this animal,” Rattay added. “They may have, just like the others, gone up to pet it, then been bitten or scratched and not really thought much about it.”
Anyone who may have come into contact with the rabid cat is asked to call 302-744-1070 to talk to an epidemiologist 24 hours a day. Patients who’ve been exposed are given a series of four post-rabies vaccinations.