Title: Stray Kitten Tests Positive for Rare Raccoon Rabies Variant in Nebraska
A stray kitten in Nebraska has recently tested positive for rabies, marking the first case of a cat contracting the virus in the area in two decades. The kitten was found to have a variant of rabies typically found in raccoons east of Appalachia and never before recorded in Nebraska.
Health officials have expressed concerns over the potential increased risk of human transmission due to this variant spreading to a cat. Prompt action is crucial as rabies is considered 100 percent fatal to humans if left untreated.
To prevent further infections, a public health operation is presently underway in the local area. Authorities aim to vaccinate approximately 1,000 raccoons, targeting the prevention of the virus’s further spread.
In an effort to contain the virus, a joint team of state and federal officials will trap, test, and vaccinate raccoons within a specific area. By doing so, they hope to curtail any potential transmission of the virus to other animals or humans.
It remains unclear how the stray kitten became infected and how it ended up at an Omaha family’s home. The family, unaware of the kitten’s condition, gave it away to another family, who then noticed the strange behavior and aggression in the animal. Consequently, they promptly took the kitten to a veterinarian for examination.
The veterinarian’s test results were quickly sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who confirmed that the kitten was infected with the raccoon rabies strain. As a precautionary measure, all 10 individuals who may have been exposed to the kitten are currently undergoing preventative treatment for rabies.
Rabies symptoms in humans include fever, headache, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis, and mental confusion. Unfortunately, once symptoms appear, there is no specific treatment for rabies. However, infection can be prevented through the administration of a vaccine.
Those feared to have been exposed to rabies receive a vaccine and antibody treatment known as Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). This regimen involves receiving a dose of man-made rabies antibodies and four doses of a rabies vaccine over a two-week period to combat the infection.
The discovery of a rabid kitten in Nebraska has raised concerns among health officials, sparking an ongoing effort to prevent further infections. With the joint operation underway to vaccinate raccoons, authorities are hopeful to contain the spread of this rare variant and safeguard the community from potential risks associated with the virus.
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