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Delaware Health Alert Network #167

December 31, 2008 1:45 pm


Health Alert
DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH WARNS OF RABID CAT NEAR MILLSBORO

Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is warning residents of the Dagsboro area of a cat, found to be rabid by the DPH Lab on Mon. Dec. 29. The cat, a small tan and orange young adult scratched several people residing on Deer Run off of Iron Branch Road. Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten by this cat should contact their healthcare provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4545.

The essential components of rabies post exposure prophylaxis are wound treatment and, for previously unvaccinated persons, the administration of both Human Rabies Immune Globulin (RIG) and vaccine. Administration of rabies post exposure prophylaxis is a medical urgency, not a medical emergency, but decisions must not be delayed. Incubation periods of greater than one year have been reported in humans. Thus, when a documented or likely exposure has occurred, post exposure prophylaxis is indicated regardless of the length of the delay, provided the clinical signs of rabies are not present in the person.

As a result of a general shortage of rabies vaccine providers should consult with the Division of Public Health to ensure appropriate use of post-exposure prophylaxis. Questions should be directed to the DPH Rabies Program which answers 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by calling 302-744-4545.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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