CONTRIBUTED BY THE ANIMAL HEALTH CENTER
BY HOMER S. BRUCE / LEE COUNTY RABIES OFFICER
LEE COUNTY —
A cat has exposed 11 staff members at a local veterinary hospital (Opelika) and four family members to rabies. The family exposed is from Hurtsboro in Russell County. The cat in question was a stray which was hanging around the property. The cat attacked the owner’s dog, and the individual was exposed at that time. The cat was subsequently presented to the local veterinary hospital and placed in quarantine. One person in the clinic was bitten and 10 exposed indirectly. The cat died and has tested positive for rabies on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. All 15 people who were exposed have been sent to East Alabama Medical Center for Post Exposure Prophylactic treatment for rabies. This included Rabies Immunoglobulin and a three-dose rabies vaccination regiment or a two-dose rabies booster vaccination regiment for those who had previously had preexposure rabies vaccinations.
All potential human exposures (15) in this case have been addressed and treated as of Saturday evening.
The key here is that all of the owner’s pets had received a previous rabies vaccination. They all have received rabies booster vaccinations post exposure. Rabies vaccinations are so important in protecting your pets from rabies and thereby protecting humans from exposure through their pets. Alabama Law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated at 3 months of age and annually thereafter unless they receive a three-year rabies vaccine. The first rabies vaccination is only good for one year regardless of which vaccine your pet receives. I ask everyone to please check their pet’s rabies vaccination status and to get them boosted immediately if they are not up to date. Lastly, stray animals hanging around your property can expose you, your children, your pets and your livestock to rabies. Please contact your local animal control agency for assistance with stray animals on your property. As always please be ever vigilant and aware of wild animals hanging around and or acting out of place on your property. Contact your veterinarian if you can’t determine your pet’s vaccination status. Please call 334-745-0060 if you have questions.
Homer S. Bruce, DVM, MAg.