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Police: Rabid cat bit Manheim Twp. woman

Liz Evans Scolforo, 505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

A rabid cat attacked a woman at her Manheim Township farm over the weekend, officials said.

It happened about noon Saturday in the 5100 block of Wool Mill Road, according to Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean.

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The cat was a stray that had shown up at the farm, and it wasn't exhibiting any symptoms of rabies, the chief said.

An animal-control officer trapped the cat, Bean said.

The cat was euthanized so it could be tested for rabies, "which can only be done after death," Manheim Township Manager Loren Riebling said.

Because there are other cats at the farm, an animal officer will remain involved to ensure the rabies hasn't spread, he said.

Only one exposed: Neither Bean nor Riebling was aware of any other people exposed to the cat.

The woman who was bitten initially went to a local hospital for treatment of her wounds, Riebling said.

Now that the rabies diagnosis has been made, she can be treated for that, Bean said. Without treatment, rabies is fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This was the first rabid-animal report of the year for Manheim Township, according to Riebling, who said they're infrequent.

"Occasionally we hear of a resident who's spotted a raccoon or fox that looks mangy or suspect, but rarely do we get confirmation of that," he said.

Online alert: Riebling has posted a health-and-safety alert on the Manheim Township website, Click on "Health & Safety Alert" on the home page to see the May 10 bulletin.

It urges residents to keep their pets current on rabies vaccinations, monitor the outdoor activities of their children and pets, and be alert for groundhogs and other animals that exhibit signs of rabies. Initially in the disease, symptoms include lethargy, fever and vomiting, then progress to cerebral dysfunction, seizures, abnormal behavior, aggression and excessive salivation, according to the CDC.

Riebling advised people to stay away from animals that are acting oddly. Instead, call 911 and ask for police or an animal control officer.

12 treated last month: In April, 12 patients received rabies shots, rabies vaccinations or related follow-up care at York Hospital, according to WellSpan York Hospital spokesman Dan Carrigan. There were seven such patients in April 2016, he said.

April Hutcheson, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said the rabies threat appears to be limited to the cat that was tested by the state Department of Agriculture.

"There is no larger public health threat," she said.

She said the health department provides assistance to anyone exposed to rabies.

Anyone who sees a wild or feral animal displaying signs of rabies, and anyone who is concerned a pet might be infected, is urged to call Manheim Township's animal control officer, Michelle Klugh, at 717-916-1413.


— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.