Authorities in North Conway, New Hampshire are on a mission to pinpoint individuals who might have been exposed to rabies. This comes after two stray kittens in the area tested positive for the fatal disease, sending shockwaves across the community.
The first infected kitten was brought to the Conway Area Humane Society by a concerned citizen. After being cared for by two veterinary practices, the kitten started showing symptoms on Nov. 11 and tested positive two days later, prompting the identification of individuals who had direct contact with the animal and may need preventive treatment.
On November 16th, a second kitten tested positive for rabies, sparking further investigation to identify potential exposure among residents.
Authorities are urging caution and advising residents to steer clear of any contact with stray, feral, or wild animals, including cats and kittens, following the positive rabies tests.
Dr. Benjamin Chan, the New Hampshire State Epidemiologist, emphasized the importance of preventing exposure to rabies. “Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease, and every year, 20-30 animals test positive for rabies in New Hampshire. The best way to prevent exposure is to avoid direct contact with stray, feral, or wild animals,” he said.
The rabies virus affects the brain and central nervous system and is transmitted through contact with an infected animal’s saliva, particularly when it comes into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth.