Mississippi confirms first land animal rabies case in 50 years
The animal was a feral cat located in Starkville. The cat was a small kitten, colored black and white.
Rabies, a viral infection, affects the nervous system as well as the brain. The virus is fatal by the time that symptoms appear. Humans can contract the virus through the bites of animals infected with the illness.
The Mississippi Public Health Laboratory tested the brain tissue of the cat to confirm that it is infected with rabies. The virus is more commonly found in the state’s bats. Wild animals and feral animals have been infected with rabies in Mississippi’s bordering states in recent years.
Downtown Starkville reported exposures to the cat. It was also seen in a remote area nearby developed regions of the Thad Cochran Research Park, located close to the campus of Mississippi State University.
Health professionals have warned people who may have been scratched or bitten by the cat within the last 10 days. These individuals must contact the MSDH Office of Epidemiology as well as their primary healthcare provider immediately. As of today, this case is not considered an ongoing public health risk.