Rabies Alert in Pickens County

Three Residents Bitten by Rabid Stray Cat

by Jennifer King, PIO/RC/Communication Specialist | North Georgia Health District 1-2

Rabies Alert in Pickens County

[ April 26, 2024 ] On Friday, April 19, the Pickens County Environmental Health office was notified that two residents were attacked by a rabies-infected stray cat in the Bethany-Salem area. The incident occurred at a home in the vicinity of Mountain Lake Drive off Henderson Mountain Road, prompting immediate action from Pickens County Animal Control.

Upon investigating the incident, Animal Control discovered that the same stray cat that attacked the two individuals in the Mountain Lake Drive area had also bitten another person nearby in the area of South Woods Court. Suspecting rabies, Animal Control took the cat to a local veterinarian for testing.

Subsequent tests confirmed the cat's positive rabies status. Therefore, all three bite victims are now undergoing necessary post-exposure treatment. Reports of stray cats in the area have raised concerns, prompting Pickens County Environmental Health officials to issue an alert urging residents to be vigilant.

Denise Cox, manager of Pickens County Environmental Health, said the rabid cat had short, gray fur and looked like a Russian Blue. She strongly advises anyone who may have had contact with a stray cat matching that description anywhere in the area where the attacks occurred within the two weeks leading up to April 19 to call Pickens County Environmental Health at (706) 253-0900. After 5 PM or on the weekend when the environmental health office is closed, call the Georgia Poison Center at (800) 282-5846 or email amy.grice@dph.ga.gov. Also, call Pickens County Animal Control at the Pickens County Marshal's Office at (706) 253-8986. It is imperative to then call a healthcare provider immediately.

Anytime a person is bitten or scratched by a potentially rabies-infected animal, they must seek immediate medical attention because rabies is almost always fatal if left untreated.

For further information regarding rabies and preventive measures, visit the 'Rabies - Frequently Asked Questions' section on the Georgia Department of Public Health website at
dph.georgia.gov/environmental-health/rabies.

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