State public health officials are trying to get the word out about a potential rabies exposure in Annapolis, Maryland. A rabid kitten was discovered outside a Sears store at the Westfield Annapolis shopper center. The concern is that people may have handled the kitten and been exposed. It’s a major concern with kittens because they can be hard to resist – a pathetic-looking/cute little kitten sitting around in a public place could easily be picked up by many people. Also, when rabies is found in a young kitten, there are often other rabid kittens from the same litter in the area. Rabid stray kittens have caused widespread exposure in the past, and this case may be no different.
Anyone who recently had contact with a stray kitten in the area in question should contact public health officials as soon as possible. Simply touching the kitten is not a rabies exposure risk, but anyone that has had any contact with a potentially rabid animal should talk to public health officials to determine whether there is any risk of infection and whether post-exposure treatment is required.
While kittens are hard to resist, avoid handling stray kittens. This is especially true if it’s transient handling where you will never know what happened to the kitten afterwards (as opposed to someone adopting a kitten off the street – this is still risky from some standpoints, but at least you know if the kitten gets sick and you can make sure that it is tested for rabies or other other zoontic diseses, if need be).