Rabid cat euthanized after attacking at least 4 people

A rabid cat appears to have attacked at least four people near Hillview and Old Valley Pike in Maurertown.

Colin Greene, the director of the Lord Fairfax Health District, said that a black cat in Maurertown attacked three people on Friday in two separate attacks.

“Those people got treated in the emergency room and the emergency rooms will then send animal bite reports to us,” Greene said.

According to a news release from the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, another person reported on Wednesday being bitten by a cat of a similar description in Maurertown. Capt. Wesley Dellinger, of the Sheriff’s Office, said that he did not know the date of that reported attack.

Dellinger added on Wednesday that the Sheriff’s Office was planning to go door-to-door in the area later that day to notify people about the attacks.

Following those incidents, the cat was euthanized. Tests came back on Monday showing that the cat had rabies, according to a release from the Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday, the day Greene said he received word of the test results, the Lord Fairfax Health District issued a news release notifying people about the attack.

“The intent of that press release is to alert anybody else that may have come in contact with this cat to let them know that it was rabid and they need to seek treatment right away,” Greene said.

Once symptoms of rabies start appearing, the disease is almost always fatal. However, a series of shots can prevent the symptoms from ever appearing.

People can receive those shots by visiting their nearest hospital emergency department.

Greene added that people should contact their veterinarian if they believe the cat attacked one or more of their pets. He added that people should keep their pets as well as any livestock that comes in contact with humans up to date on rabies vaccines.

According to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office news release, the cat was lactating and may have had kittens who were infected.

“At this time no other animals have been located in this area,” the release states.