Authorities in New Hampshire are working to identify people who may have been exposed to rabies after two stray kittens in North Conway tested positive for the disease.
A concerned citizen picked up the first kitten with rabies and took it to the Conway Area Humane Society, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. Two veterinary practices cared for the kitten before it started exhibiting symptoms on Nov. 11 and tested positive two days later. Officials said the people who had direct contact with the infected kitten and might require preventive treatment were identified.
“A second kitten tested positive on November 16th and investigation is ongoing to identify people who may have been exposed,” officials said.
Authorities are urging residents to avoid direct contact with any stray, feral, or wild animals, including cats or kittens, following the positive tests.
“Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease,” New Hampshire State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said in a statement. “Rabies typically circulates in wild animals, and every year, 20-30 animals test positive for rabies in New Hampshire. The best way to prevent exposure is to avoid direct contact with stray, feral, or wild animals. If a person is exposed to a sick animal, they may need the rabies vaccine and protective antibodies to prevent disease.”
The rabies virus affects the brain and central nervous system and is transmitted when an infected animal’s saliva comes into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth.
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