The bobcat that attacked a Bozrah, Connecticut woman over the weekend has tested positive for rabies, according to the state  Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today.

Bobcat Image/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Image/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The woman was attacked by the large cat in her yard over the weekend and suffered scratches and bites. Her husband and sons struck out at the cat until it fled. She was taken to Backus Hospital, Norwich for treatment.

DEEP Environmental Conservation Police (EnCon) responded and searched for the bobcat until dark, but were unable to locate it. Officers returned to the scene Sunday morning with a trained canine to continue the search.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 31 State Police, Troop E reported that a Lebanon family in the vicinity of Norwich Avenue and Waterman Road had an encounter with a bobcat which they fended off.  There were no injuries.  Others in the area also reported encounters with a bobcat that day.

EnCon Police, who were still in the area searching, were able to locate the bobcat and euthanized it on McGrath Lane, Lebanon.  They then transported it to the State Health Lab for tests to determine if it had rabies.

The positive rabies test results were obtained this afternoon from the State Health Lab administered by the Department of Public Health.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

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.