Santa Barbara County Public Health officials have put out a warning about rabies in Santa Barbara, after a person was bitten by an infected cat.
The sick cat was found on the 400 block of Las Palmas Drive on October 23rd. The cat bit a person who tried to help it, and the animal later died. It was tested for rabies, and after it turned out positive, treatment for exposure to rabies was started on the cat bite victim.
People in the area are being asked to watch the behavior of animals in the area, both domestic and wild, for unusual behavior which might indicate they have become infected. The rabies virus in known to affect bats in the area, but can also impact cats, dogs, and humans. Signs of infection include aggressive behavior, severe illness, and foaming at the mouth. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, and people exposed need immediate medical care.
Officials say it’s unusual in the county to find cats with rabies, and that this is the first documented instance in about a decade.