A Cherokee County man is being treated for rabies exposure after he was attacked by a stray cat, officials with the North Georgia Health District said Thursday evening.
According to a press release, the man was attacked on Dec. 1 after responding to sounds of cats fighting outside his home near the intersection of Highway 140/Hickory Flat Highway and Creek Hollow Drive in southeast Cherokee County.
A gray and white cat he fed often was outside his home and started rubbing against the man's legs. The cat suddenly became aggressive and bit him. The cat ran away, but when it returned to the property, the man shot the cat.
The incident was reported to the Cherokee County Environmental Health Department on Dec. 6 and the cat's body was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing that same day. The results for the test came back positive on Dec. 10.
The man bitten began post rabies exposure treatment immediately after the incident, which consists of one shot of rabies immune globulin and four shots of rabies vaccine administered over a two-week period.
Rabies is almost always deadly in humans who contract it and do not receive treatment. It's imperative people recognize exposure and quickly obtain appropriate medical treatment before symptoms of exposure become apparent.
County health officials urge residents to protect against rabies by keeping their pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations and avoid all contact with unfamiliar domestic or wild animals.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, call the Cherokee County Environmental Health Office at (770) 479-0444 or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.