Authorities warn public to take precautions after rabid cat attacks 3 in Gwinnett

NORCROSS, Ga. -- Local authorities are asking residents to take precautions after three people were attacked by a rabid cat.

The attack happened in the 500 block of Sunset Drive in Norcross. Though the cat was quickly caught, it did test positive for rabies. It's the latest case to be found in Gwinnett this year with a rabid raccoon found in March - this animal in Lawrenceville.

The most common carriers of rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes though it can be spread to house pets and even humans. In fact, an untreated case in humans is almost always fatal. So officials are warning the public to take extra precautions.

Tips include:

  • Make sure your pets get their rabies shots regularly.
  • Keep your pets on your property.
  • Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. Food left out may attract wild or stray animals.
  • Stay away from wild, sick, hurt, or dead animals. Do not pick up or move sick or hurt animals. If you find a wild, sick, or hurt animal, call Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement at 770-513-5700 or 770-339-3200.
  • Do not keep wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes as pets. It is dangerous and also illegal.
  • Teach your children not to go near, tease or play with wild animals or strange dogs and cats

Locals are also asked to spot a rabid animal.   Officials said that while animals with the illness may act tame, they may also display strange or unusual behavior. They also may act aggressive, avoid food or water or have trouble moving. Authorities ask the public to stay away from wildlife and unknown animals.

As for pets that appear to have rabies, they should either quarantine the animal for six months and vaccinate one month before release or have the animal euthanized.  Also contact the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576 or call the after-hours non-emergency dispatch at 770-513-5700.

In any situation where a person or pet may have just been attacked by rabid animal, someone should scrub the wound with antiseptic soap and water, flush the wound and seek immediate medical attention. If possible, also have an animal captured and tested.

The Gwinnett County Health Department is available to answer questions regarding rabies in humans at 770-339-4260. 

Welfare and Enforcement is partnering with Planned Pethood, Animal Alliance of Georgia and Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation to offer free rabies vaccinations on June 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Best Friend Park located at 6224 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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