FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A positive case of rabies was found in a domestic cat that bit a Fresno County resident, health officials said.
The Fresno County Department of Public Health said it was the first confirmed case of feline rabies in the county since 1943.
Officials said rabies is a very serious disease and is almost always fatal if not treated before symptoms appear.
Fresno County has been identified as a rabies endemic area by state health officials. Although not mandated, it is highly recommended to have your cat vaccinated for rabies.
Rabies remains a concern among wild mammals in Fresno County, especially among bats and skunks, health officials said. While any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus, bats are the most common mammal in the county that carry rabies.
Six bats tested positive for rabies in Fresno County in 2018 and 2019.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rabies virus infects the central nervous system of humans and animals.
If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death.