New reports say rabid cat bit 2, dog quarantined

MUNCY – Two people are being treated and a dog is quarantined after a rabid cat attacked them Saturday morning, Muncy Borough Police Chief James Dorman said.

Police responded to reports of a person attacked by a cat that had been acting odd Saturday around 11 a.m.

A woman walking her dog near Lincoln and South Market streets noticed the adult grey tiger-striped cat coming toward her, Dorman said.

When the cat started to attack her dog, a passerby stopped to help, Dorman said.

“That passerby ended up getting bit,” he said.

When an officer responded and jumped in to help, he too, was bitten by the cat.

“But he was able to get the situation under control,” Dorman said.

The officer and the woman currently are being treated and the dog is quarantined for 120 days, Dorman said.

The state Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that the cat was rabid and started releasing fliers to residents in the area.

The Department of Health said on Wednesday there were no known bite victims from the cat, but updated the Sun-Gazette about the two victims early Thursday morning.

Dorman assured Muncy residents that the cat already has been caught and was sent for testing.

“I’ve heard rumors that people had started going around looking for the cat,” Dorman said. “I want to tell residents not to look for this cat. It’s been sent to the state Department of Agriculture who confirmed that it had rabies.”

Rabies is a virus of the central nervous system and can affect any mammal and is widespread throughout the state, the Department of Health said.

Even though reports of animals with rabies are more commonly associated with the summer, cases occur throughout the year all over the world.

The Department of Health urged anyone with a bite or any other significant human exposure to saliva or central nervous system fluid from the cat or any other rabid animal to contact the Lycoming County State Health Center.

“Significant human exposure” would be any bite, scratch or other situation in which saliva or central nervous system tissue of a potentially rabid animal may have entered an opened or fresh wound or came into contact with the eyes, mouth or nose, according to the flyer.

Touching or handling a potentially rabid animal does not constitute as an exposure unless wet saliva may have entered those wounds or areas of the body.

The center is opened from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at 570-327-3400 and after hours at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Anyone with a pet that has been injured by this animal should contact their veterinarian for advice about protection.

To prevent rabies, it is important to make sure that all pets that can be vaccinated currently are vaccinated against the virus since other animals in the area may develop rabies.

Also, avoid contact with all wild or stray animals especially bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks.

“In any case of an animal acting out of the norm, please contact the non-emergency number to county communications,” Dorman added

Lycoming County 911 can be reached at 570-433-3166 for non-emergency calls.