The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) issued a reminder on the danger of the rabies virus and the importance of vaccinations in pets after a cat tested positive.

The stray cat was captured in a mobile home park located in the Langford Court area in Prattville. The cat was submitted for testing by the Prattville/Autauga County Humane Society.

One person is currently undergoing prompt medical treatment to prevent human rabies infection following a bite from the cat. The local health department is investigating the possibility of other human exposures. The specimen will be sent for further confirmatory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data will be shared with the United States Department of Agriculture and state wildlife agencies for future rabies management decisions.

“The incidence of human exposure to rabies has dramatically declined over the last half-century largely because of the vaccination of domestic animals against rabies,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, a state public health veterinarian.

However, Jones also stated it is challenging to get people to keep their animals current on vaccinations. The vaccination of pets against rabies is required in Alabama and is considered the best protection for pets and their owners. Jones reminded the public that people must be aware that rabies still exists in Alabama. 

Raccoons are the primary reservoir for the rabies virus in the state. Raccoons transmit rabies to other animals through fighting after they exhibit behavior changes related to the infection. Stray animals are at most risk because they are usually unvaccinated and more likely to encounter raccoons and other wild animals. 

Historically, infected raccoons have occurred in low numbers in Autauga compared to the counties located to the south, but this is the second positive domestic animal in the county this year. Earlier this year, another cat tested positive in the area near Durden Road of Prattville.

The ADPH has released some guidelines to prevent the transmission of the rabies virus.

  • 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 wild or domestic animals that are acting strangely or unusually.

  • Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.

  • Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.

—    A person bitten or scratched by an animal should wash wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention or contact the county health department directly.

For more information about rabies and prevention, contact ADPH (334) 206-5969 or (334) 206-5100 or visit