Wilmington Island residents worried after feral kitten tests pos - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Wilmington Island residents worried after feral kitten tests positive for rabies

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The Savannah-Chatham Animal Control and the Health Dept. have issued a warning after a kitten tested positive for rabies on Wilmington Island in the Wilmington Park neighborhood.

Nine people have been exposed so far, and that number may go up.

Animal Control is focusing on the 200 block of Winchester Drive, and neighbors said the creeks and wooded areas in the neighborhood are some of the problem areas. They have seen several raccoons and cats in those areas.

This all started when a feral kitten got into a fight with a raccoon, then the kitten attacked and scratched a child. When the kitten was taken in, it tested positive for rabies and was euthanized.

For people out here, they said it's still a problem.

According to the SCMPD, seven children and two adults have been exposed to rabies because of this.

"We see raccoons, cats a lot," said Jenny Neil. "They are feral to my knowledge."

Neil lives on Winchester Drive and has three young kids, all of whom like to play outside.

"Does it concern me that there may be rabies around here?" she said. "Sure. I mean, I do not want a crazy animal attacking my child. It will be good information to know, and they are old enough to know not to walk out and touch any animal. Just do not take that chance."

Neil's children pointed out some areas in the neighborhood where they have seen raccoons and cats, and Savannah Animal Control said they have set up traps to try and catch the rabid raccoon.

At least half a dozen other cats in the neighborhood may have been exposed. The Neils have a cat and said it often hands out with feral cats, one in particular.

"This cat has always done it's thing and gotten along," said Neil. "But last night it got very aggressive with my cat. Not sure if it is anything more than dominance."

It's something the whole neighborhood will be watching, but in the mean time they are making some changes.

"We started keeping the food inside," said Neil.

The Chatham County Health Dept. has offered these tips:

-Avoid eye contact.

-Animals must have shots.

-Do not feed feral animals.

-Do not nurse sick animals.

-Teach children to stay away.

The nine people who have been exposed have been advised to check in with their doctor.

For more information and rabies prevention tips from the Humane Society, visit here.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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