A Martinsburg resident bit by a rabid cat is raising concerns after Berkeley County Health officials told her that there has not been a policy to inform the community of animals that have tested positive for rabies.
According to the Administrator for the Berkeley and Morgan County Board of Health, Bill Kearns, he says, “As far as identifying and letting the community know when we do have a positive, that hasn’t always been a policy of the health department.”
The cat, who resident Sherry Scheufele named “Paws,” is the first case reported positive for rabies this year, according to Kearns.
Scheufele says she was notified the cat tested positive for rabies on Tuesday, and she received 11 shots that same day. She has four more to go.
“What we do routinely is we try to educate the public to not be exposed to feral animals because they do have a high potential of being rabid,” said Kearns.
Scheufele says it’s been a painful experience, but she wants people to know about the danger if they may have been in contact with Paws: “It’s very important and it needs to be told to the community.”
If you think you may be potentially exposed to rabies from any wildlife, health officials say to seek medical assistance and to leave wildlife alone and contact your local animal control.
Kearns says they usually let their board members know when a positive specimen has come back from the lab.