KItten and litter-mates euthanized

A caretaker in the Plantation Park community of Ocean View was exposed to a rabid kitten.

According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, the individual was exposed to the kitten on their own property while taking care of it and its litter-mates. The individual sought medical care for the kitten after it suffered an injury. Based on its symptoms, the kitten was tested for rabies and results came back positive on Friday, Nov. 1.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin. Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear. 

The remaining kittens in the litter were trapped and euthanized by DPH to prevent any additional rabies exposures. The caretaker has begun prophylactic treatment for rabies exposure.

Since Jan. 1, 2019, the Division of Public Health has performed rabies tests on 137 animals, nine of which were confirmed to be rabid, including six raccoons, two cats (including this case) and a skunk. In 2018, DPH performed rabies tests on 146 animals, 19 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including six raccoons, five cats, one dog, five foxes, one horse and one donkey.

Additionally last year, DPH announced Delaware's first positive case of rabies in a human in nearly 80 years. A Felton woman died after contracting the disease.

If an animal that has exposed a human is unavailable to be quarantined or tested, DPH recommends that people receive post-exposure prophylaxis treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.

Anyone in the Ocean View area who thinks they may have come into contact with a feral kitten should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. Anyone in the area who thinks their pet may have been bitten by a feral kitten should call their private veterinarian or the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) at 302-698-4500.

If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the DNREC's Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/.

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.