The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) and the State Veterinarian’s Office are alerting the public that a kitten purchased from Amy’s Pet Parade pet store in Minot has tested positive for rabies. The kitten was part of a litter of six that was anonymously dropped off at the pet store on August 29, 2014. All six kittens were put on display for sale starting August 29, 2014. The last kitten from the litter was sold this week.
The kitten was potentially infectious with rabies starting on August 22, 2014. Due to the possible exposure of rabies to the other kittens in the litter, the NDDoH is asking anyone who may have had exposure to saliva from these kittens by being bitten, licked or scratched since August 22 to call the North Dakota Department of Health after-hours number at 701.220.0819.
Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.