Alabama kitten found with rabies, state health officials say

Published 10:07 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed that a young kitten developed rabies, subsequently died, and tested positive for rabies on December 22. The location of the case was a residence in south central Autauga County on County Road 46 in the general area between the communities of Booth and Independence.

A group of very young kittens were taken by the owner approximately one month ago. The kitten who died was exhibiting neurological signs, and was taken for veterinary care. More testing is being done to confirm the rabies strain. The remaining two kittens have been vaccinated and are being quarantined for rabies.

ADPH has identified all the persons at the residence as well as the veterinary clinic who were exposed to the kitten. At this time, all those persons exposed are being advised to seek medical care for prevention.

According to Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health Veterinarian, “This is another reminder to get your pets vaccinated against rabies regardless of where you live. We have found rabies positives in both domestic animals and wildlife very close to populated locations.”

Alabama state law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older be current with rabies vaccination. The first rabies vaccination is only good for one year, regardless of which vaccine a pet receives. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should an exposure occur; thus, vaccinations help protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.

Rabies prevention is multifaceted. It involves people taking precautions with wildlife, making sure their pets are current on rabies vaccinations, and always reporting an animal bite or other exposure to their medical provider or ADPH. In addition to vaccination, area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:

  • Do not allow pets to run loose; confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
  • Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
  • Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
  • Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
  • Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.

For more information about rabies and prevention, please contact ADPH at (334) 206-5969 or visit ADPH Infectious Diseases.