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DHSS Press Release



Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Mary Fenimore
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: September 15, 2021
DHSS-9-2021





STRAY CAT IN NEW CASTLE TESTS POSITIVE FOR RABIES


DOVER, DE (Sept. 15, 2021) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising residents who live or spend time in the vicinity between West Ninth Street and West Third Street near Battery Park in New Castle of a positive case of rabies in a stray cat that came into contact with four individuals and a dog recently. The cat was tested for rabies, which returned positive results on Sept. 9, 2021. The individuals who came in contact with the cat have all begun treatment for rabies exposure. Anyone who thinks they may have been bitten, scratched, or come in contact with a stray cat in this area should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Anyone in the area who thinks a stray cat might have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian for examination, treatment, and to report the exposure to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Rabies is a preventable disease. DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the Division of Public Health has performed rabies tests on 150 animals, 13 of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one raccoon, one skunk, one deer, one fox, three cats (including this one), and five bats. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.

In 2020, DPH performed rabies tests on 121 animals, four of which were confirmed to be rabid, including one raccoon, one bat, and two cats.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth, or an opening in the skin. Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore, if a human has been exposed, and the animal is unavailable to be quarantined or tested, DPH recommends that people receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.

If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.



Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.





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