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Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2013

Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after exposure to rabid kitten in Colorado

A family of eight in Larimer County, CO have been vaccinated for rabies after it was discovered a kitten was confirmed positive for the very lethal virus, rabies, according to Larimer County Department of Health and Environment news release Saturday.

Public domain image/Rosendahl

Public domain image/Rosendahl

According to the Health Department, the animal was submitted for rabies testing by a local veterinarian who had examined it for neurological problems and was bitten by the cat.  The animal was euthanized and sent to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, which confirmed it had rabies.

Health officials say during the time the kitten was infectious, it bit or scratched three adults and five children. All eight family members have received rabies prophylaxis. The kitten was born to an unvaccinated barn cat on a rural agricultural property north of Fort Collins.

Health officials say this is the the first positive cat reported in Larimer County since the Health Department was established in 1968.

Related story: Bats, Rabies, Fungi And Your Home: A Few Words With Get Bats Out President, Michael Koski

“Many barn cats in Larimer County are not vaccinated, even though rabies immunizations are required by county ordinance for all cats and dogs,” said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Health Department.  “This situation clearly demonstrates that leaving barn cats and livestock unvaccinated—especially those in close contact with people—puts family members, friends, and animal health professionals at risk of infection.”

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. It is also rarely contracted through breaks in the skin or contact with mucous membranes. It has been suggested that airborne transmission is possible in caves where there are heavy concentrations of bats.

Related story: Rhode Island Family Brings Rabid Raccoon In Their Home, 18 People Affected

According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.

Rabies infected animals can appear very aggressive, attacking for no reason. Some may act very tame. They may look like they are foaming at the mouth or drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva. Sometimes the animal may stagger (this can also be seen in distemper). Not long after this point they will die. Most animals can transmit rabies days before showing symptoms.

Initially, like in many diseases, the symptoms of rabies are non-specific; fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. At the site of the bite, there may be some pain and discomfort. Symptoms then progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is nearly 100% fatal.

Although worldwide it is estimated that there are more than 55,000 deaths due to rabies annually,human rabies cases are extremely rare in the United States, which averages  less than five human rabies cases annually.

Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He regularly writes about infectious disease news for Examiner.com and administers the Outbreak News section of The Global Dispatch.

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  1. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after exposure to rabid kitten in Colorado [...]

  2. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after exposure to rabid kitten in Colorado [...]

  3. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after…The Global DispatchAccording to the Health Department, the animal was submitted for rabies testing by a local veterinarian who had examined it for neurological problems and was bitten by the cat. The animal was euthanized and sent to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, …First Case of Rabies on Cat Found in Larimer CountyHeadlines & Global NewsPueblo man hospitalized with rabid bat bitePueblo ChieftainKitten with rabies bites 8 people in Larimer CountyDenver Post9NEWS.com -ReporterHerald.com -kdvr.comall 20 news articles » [...]

  4. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after…The Global DispatchAccording to the Health Department, the animal was submitted for rabies testing by a local veterinarian who had examined it for neurological problems and was bitten by the cat. The animal was euthanized and sent to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, …First Case of Rabies on Cat Found in Larimer CountyHeadlines & Global NewsPueblo man hospitalized with rabid bat bitePueblo ChieftainKitten with rabies bites 8 people in Larimer CountyDenver Post9NEWS.com -ReporterHerald.com -kdvr.comall 20 news articles [...]

  5. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after… – The Global Dispatch [...]

  6. [...] Eight family members receive rabies vaccine after…The Global DispatchAccording to the Health Department, the animal was submitted for rabies testing by a local veterinarian who had examined it for neurological problems and was bitten by the cat. The animal was euthanized and sent to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, …First Case of Rabies on Cat Found in Larimer CountyHeadlines & Global NewsPueblo man hospitalized with rabid bat bitePueblo ChieftainKitten with rabies bites 8 people in Larimer CountyDenver PostNBC New York -9NEWS.com -ReporterHerald.comall 20 news articles …read more [...]

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