A raccoon has tested positive for rabies in the Locust Grove area of Orange County.
The raccoon attacked an elderly cat at a private residence in the Lake of the Woods community on Sept. 1, according to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District. A statement published Thursday did not describe how the raccoon died, but the remains tested positive for rabies by the Virginia State Lab on Sept. 4.
The local health department said it has reached out to those who may have had contact with the raccoon and assessed the need for rabies shots. It did not state anything about the health of the cat.
Rabies is 100% fatal once symptoms — which include irritability, aggressiveness, foaming at the mouth, confusion and weakness or paralysis — occur. Symptoms can be prevented, however, if treatment begins immediately after exposure.
In addition to pet vaccinations, the health department encourages members of the public to avoid contact with wild animals, report strays to animal control agencies and keep pets confined on property or by leash.
For more information, visit tinyurl.com/y3ubzbgc or call the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department at (434) 972-6219.