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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 068-06
Friday, August 4, 2006

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov)
Sara Markt (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)


STRAY KITTEN TESTS POSITIVE FOR RABIES IN HUGUENOT AREA OF STATEN ISLAND

Rabid Animal Activity has increased on Staten Island; Health Department Reminds New Yorkers to Avoid Contact with Stray Cats and Dogs and Wild Animals

NEW YORK CITY – August 4, 2006 - A stray kitten found in the Huguenot area of Staten Island has tested positive for rabies, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) reported today. The kitten was found near Ida Court and North Railroad Street. One person was bitten by the kitten and several others either fed or had direct contact with this kitten. All individuals identified as having been exposed to the kitten are currently being treated to prevent rabies.

DOHMH is trying to identify anyone else who may have had contact with this black and white, tiger striped, five-month-old, stray kitten near Ida Court and North Railroad Street in Staten Island. Such persons should seek medical care and call 311 to notify DOHMH. DOHMH is also alerting City doctors and veterinarians in order to prevent transmission of rabies to humans or their pets; there has not been a case of human rabies in New York City for more than 50 years.

Rabid animal activity has increased recently on Staten Island. Since April 2006, seven rabid raccoons and two rabid cats have been identified; two of the raccoons were identified last week in the Greenridge and Heartland Village neighborhoods (see map). DOHMH warns New Yorkers to avoid contact with stray cats and dogs or other potentially rabid animals such as raccoons, skunks, or possums and to ensure that their pets’ rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

To protect yourself against rabies:

Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or when saliva of the infected animal comes into contact with an open wound or mucous membrane (such as nose or mouth). Simple contact with a wild animal will not result in rabies.

  • Do not touch or feed wild animals, stray dogs or cats, or bats.
  • Keep garbage in tightly sealed containers.
  • Stay away from any animal that is behaving aggressively or a wild animal that appears ill or is acting unusually friendly. Call 311 to report animals that are displaying these or other unusual behaviors. Always call 911 in emergency situations.
  • If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Call 311 to determine if the animal should be picked up for rabies testing. Information on how to safely capture a bat is available online through the New York State Department of Health at http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/batidx.htm.

To protect your pet against rabies:

  • Make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not leave your pets outdoors unattended.
  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact your veterinarian.
  • Feed pets indoors.

If you are bitten by an animal:

  • Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and water.
  • Seek medical care from your health care provider or go to the emergency department.
  • Call 311 to report the animal bite, and to determine if the animal should be picked up for rabies testing.
  • If the animal is someone’s pet, get the owner’s name, address, and telephone number.

For more information on rabies, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/cd/cdrab.shtml.

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Important Links:
Get information on how to safely capture a bat
Get more information on rabies