A rabid cat in Swissvale has caused the Allegheny County Health Department today to ask people to call if they were bitten by a gray cat.
The department asked people bitten by a gray cat in or near the 7300 block of Denniston Ave. in Swissvale between Nov. 16 and Nov. 26 to call right away at 412-687-ACHD.
The cat tested positive for rabies after biting a woman Monday. The woman is being treated with a vaccine.
As of Aug. 12, "no one in the United States has developed rabies when given the vaccine promptly and appropriately," according to the National Institutes of Health.
But if left untreated, rabies usually leads to death.
Rabies is spread when saliva from the infected animal enters the body through a bite.
The virus travels to the brain, where it causes inflammation. The incubation period ranges from 10 days to 7 years.
Symptoms include drooling, convulsions, loss of muscle function, difficulty swallowing, and low grade fever.
Death from respiratory failure usually occurs within a week after symptoms start.
The rabies vaccine usually is administered in five doses over 28 days.
Rabies is spread most often by dog bites. But bats, foxes, skunks, raccoons and cats also can be rabid.
The cat is the 16th rabid animal to be reported in Allegheny County this year. There have been eight raccoons and seven bats.
Jack Kelly: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1476.