Cat with rabies found in Buncombe Co.

BUNCOMBE Co., N.C. (WSPA) – Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) officials announced Sunday that a cat from the Candler area has rabies.

The rabid feline with long, gray hair was taken to Buncombe County Animal Control on Thursday, August 10th, brought in from the Curtis Creek Community. The NC State Lab ran a test on the cat over the weekend, which resulted in a positive test for the rabies virus.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office is reaching out to local residents to make them aware.

BCHHS Environmental Health Director Jessica Silver says that “Rabies is a serious disease that can be fatal without immediate treatment. Any person that thinks they may have come into contact with this cat should contact Disease Control.” The number for BCHHS Communicable Disease is 828-250-5106.

Helpful tips from Buncombe Co. officials when dealing with a rabid animal:

  • Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you believe you or your child came in contact with the cat.
  • Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you believe your pet came in contact with the cat. Be sure that pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, per North Carolina law.
  • Avoid wild or unfamiliar animals: keep children and pets away from wild or strange animals, keep your pet on a leash when out for a walk, and do not rescue pets or touch wild animals.
  • If your pet comes in contact with a wild or strange animal, avoid contact with both animals.  If this occurs, residents in Buncombe County should call the Buncombe County Sherriff’s office at 250-6670. City of Asheville residents can call the Asheville Police Department at 252-1110.
  • If you have been bitten by any animal, clean the wound thoroughly for at least 10 minutes. Immediately contact Animal Control if you or your pet is bitten, to assist in capturing the animal for observation and/or rabies testing.
  • “Post-exposure vaccines” can prevent the transmission of the rabies disease if administered within 72 hours. If a person bitten by an animal with rabies does not get the recommended rabies post-exposure treatment, they will die, usually within just a few days after symptoms develop.
  • Any medical provider who cares for someone who has been bitten by an animal must report the animal bite within 24 hours. The animal bite report form is available on our website at www.buncombecounty.org – under the “I Want to Report” section at the top of the homepage. If the animal is caught and tested and does not have rabies, you will not need to have post-exposure shots.
  • In Buncombe County, contact BCHHS Disease Control at (828) 250-5106 for a consultation related to rabies exposure.