CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side has received new information regarding a rabid cat that was reported in Chesapeake last week.
The Virginia Department of Health confirms that two people have come forward who were bitten or scratched. VDH has also tracked down a third person, the one seen in the video below. Those three people have received the necessary treatment.
Officials say they believe the cat became rabid around April 10. The cat was captured by authorities on April 19.
Health officials say they are actively trying to find anyone else who came in contact with that cat.
“If the cat scratched you or you think the cat scratched you. That’s all that matters. If that cat attacked at you and it scratched you. even if it scratched you, we care,” said Lisa Engle an epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health.
The cat was reported to have been seen in the parking lot of the Family Dollar. Based on anecdotal reports from people who work in that shopping plaza, VDH believes the cat may have jumped on or scratched at least six people.
“The cat was not acting normally. It was attacking people. It was jumping at the window. it had a broken leg it was not nursing the broken leg that much,” Engle said.
The cat was captured by animal control on April 19th. But officials believe it may have been rabid as early as April 10th. Engle says if a person who is scratched or bitten by a rabid animal is not treated within 30 days, the person can die.
“People are not coming forward because they think the same thing you think ‘oh once symptoms start I’ll go to the doctor.’ Not with this.”
The Health Department is hanging flyers around the area and is even using an electronic sign to get the word out, they’ve also made stops at soup kitchens.
Engle says one of the challenges with the area is that there is a transient population of people who gather at the store parking lot, but aren’t willing to come forward for help. She also says some people may have simply passed through the area, but live and work in a city other than Chesapeake.
Anyone who may have come in contact with this cat should call the Chesapeake Health Department at 757) 373-7490 or Animal Control at (757) 382-8081