HILLSBOROUGH — An employee of the town’s water department is being treated for rabies after being bitten and scratched by a rabid cat on Monday morning.
According to Officer Derek M. Brown of the Hillsborough Police Department, the employee, whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons, was working in the area of Church Street and Brown Avenue on Monday when the cat attacked, biting and scratching the employee. Another Hillsborough Water Department employee was on scene, but was not attacked by the cat, Brown said.
Police responded to site of the attack and shot the cat. The animal was then taken to the state laboratory to be tested for the rabies virus. On Tuesday it was determined that the cat was indeed infected with the dangerous disease, Brown said. The employee is now undergoing treatment for rabies.
Though it was initially reported that three people had been attacked by the cat, only one person was actually scratched and bitten, Brown said. However, the police along with the New Hampshire Department of Public Health are warning people who live in the neighborhood to ensure that they, their children or their animals didn’t come in contact with the rabid black and white cat with medium hair. Anyone who may have touched or been scratched or bitten by the cat should seek medical attention just to be on the safe side, Brown said.
Brown also said that any cat food that had been left outside in the last week should be carefully disposed of, and any cats or other pets that appear to have been in a fight with another animal should be checked by a veterinarian even if their rabies vaccinations are up-to-date.
Rabies can be carried by and transmitted to all mammals, according to the Department of Public Health, and can be spread through saliva, as well as through bites and scratches.
If untreated, rabies can be fatal to both people and pets. But treatment for infection, which involves a series of injections, can prevent death in those exposed to rabies. Pets or wild animals that appear to be acting strangely should be reported to police immediately.
For more information, go to dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/rabies.