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The Westchester County Department of Health is alerting residents that a black stray kitten that was caught on Mount Joy Place between Chauncey Avenue and Coligni Avenue in New Rochelle on December 8, was confirmed to be rabid today.
The kitten bit an employee at the New Rochelle Humane Society on December 10. It was brought to the shelter by a resident who had been caring for the sick kitten. The employee is being treated for rabies exposure and the resident is being evaluated for rabies exposure.
Anyone who believes they, their children or their pet may have had contact with this kitten between December 2 and December 8 is encouraged to call the Westchester County Department of Health at 914-813-5000 to assess the need for lifesaving rabies treatment. When administered early enough, before symptoms develop, the treatment is fully effective. Once symptoms occur, the disease is fatal.
The health department used robo-calls today to notify nearby residents.
“Stay alert and closely supervise children and pets when outside,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “To protect yourself and your pets, make sure your pets’ rabies vaccines are up to date.”
Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.
Residents who see a stray or wild animal acting strangely should avoid contact with the animal and alert local authorities to avoid possible exposure to rabies. Residents are also advised to keep their trash can lids securely sealed and avoid leaving pet food outdoors.
Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be reported to a health care provider. All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.
Keeping pet rabies vaccinations up to date is also important for protection against rabies. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots. For more information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.