Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert has released a statement informing residents of a potential rabies exposure in the village of New Hempstead. Residents who live in the area may have been exposed to a cat that has been confirmed to have rabies. The young, solid grey shorthair cat was obtained by the health department on July 12th. The cat in the attached picture showed signs of illness and was monitored and tested for rabies.
The area of potential exposure is a residential neighborhood between Grandview Avenue and Brick Church Road in the Village of New Hempstead. The area of concern is on Union Road across from the Hempstead Elementary School and includes Patricia Lane and Barrie Drive.
“The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. People and pets usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also possible, but rare, to get rabies from non-bite exposures, including scratches, abrasions, or open wounds exposed to saliva or other potentially infectious material from a rabid animal. If medical treatment is started soon after a rabies exposure, rabies can be prevented. Without intervention, rabies is a fatal disease,” said Dr. Ruppert.
If you or a family member have been in contact with a cat matching this description in this area and have been scratched or bitten, please contact the Rockland County Health Department as soon as possible. During business hours, 8:00 am -5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, call (845) 364-2594. After business hours and on weekends, call (845) 364-8600 to be connected with the after-hours staff.
For more information on the rabies virus, visit http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/environmental-health/rabies/ or https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html.