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Three rabies cases in Johnson County this year

By Paula Walter

There have been three reported cases of rabies this year in Johnson County, two involving raccoons and one cat.   The Tomahawk  previously reported a Johnson County resident, Danielle Matherly, was bitten by a feral cat that tested positive for rabies.  She underwent a series of rabies shots.  Matherly lives in Trade close to the North Carolina line. Rabies left untreated results in death.
According to information received by The Tomahawk, another Johnson County resident was recently bitten by a cat. According to Jerry Taylor, an environmental health specialist for the Tennessee Department of Health, the cat could not be located for testing and the man is now undergoing rabies treatment as a precaution.  Rabies is transmitted through a bite via the salvia of an animal that is infected with the rabies virus.
Cats, cows, dogs and beavers are just some of the mammals that can transmit rabies.  The most common wild animals that are infected with the virus are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes, although any mammal can contract rabies.  There are different variants of rabies, including raccoon, skunk and bat. If a cat is infected with rabies, it could be an indication of rabies in raccoons in the area.
Seek immediate care by a medical professional if an animal bites you.  Some signs of rabies in an animal include changes in behavior, aggression, irritability, restlessness, seizures and trembling and a lack of muscle coordination, among others.