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Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 bitten by rabid kitten in Derby; others exposed

Two people were bitten and several others were exposed to rabies from a kitten in Derby this week. Statistics from the Connecticut Department of Public Health show that the number of domestic animals with rabies has declined in recent years.

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DERBY >> Two people were bitten and multiple others came in contact with a rabid kitten Wednesday.
A 3-month-old kitten was found by a Derby resident on Hickory Road after she heard it screaming, Woodbridge Animal Control Officer Karen Lombardi said in a phone interview Thursday morning with the Register.
The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, picked the kitten up and took it to Shoreline Veterinary Hospital in Shelton. However, a person who was with the resident was bitten by the kitten in the process, Lombardi said.
The following morning, the kitten bit a veterinarian at the hospital and several other staff came in contact with its body fluids. The kitten later tested positive for rabies and was euthanized.
The rabies virus is fatal if not treated, Lombardi said.
“If animals are vaccinated or if humans receive proper treatment, then it’s curable,” she said. “But without proper treatment, there is no history of anyone surviving.”
The names of those who were bitten were given to the office of the state veterinarian, which was protocol, but Lombardi was unsure of their status.
Deborah Horvath, assistant director of the Community Health Services Division of Naugatuck Valley Health District, said anyone who had contact with the kitten was referred to their health provider for assessment and potential treatment. However, she said she could not comment on the status of those affected, as it was personal medical information.
This is the first confirmed case of rabies in a domestic animal that Lombardi said she has seen in a long time.
She advised residents to make sure their pets are current on rabies vaccines, and if they see an animal that appears to be ill, they should not touch it. Instead, call Animal Control or the local police department.
From January to June 16, 49 animals tested positive for rabies in Connecticut, according to Connecticut Department of Public Health records. Only one other cat was found to have rabies, which was located in Redding.
Fairfield County has the highest incidence of rabid animals this year, reporting 13. New Haven County is reporting seven rabid animals, according to the records.
The most recent reported case in Connecticut of a human with the rabies virus occurred in 1995.
The highest number of rabid animals in Connecticut occurred in 1992, reported as 838. That number has declined since then, reflecting a reduction of the raccoon population due to rabies and a change in animal testing criteria, according to the state Department of Public Health’s website.
Representatives from the Shoreline Veterinary Hospital did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
This story will be updated with more information as it’s available.

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