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Waco-area kitten had rabies

Public health officials are urging people to get medical evaluations if they came in contact with an orange tabby kitten recently in the Central Texas community of Lorena, according to reports.

The warning was issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

The male kitten was seen Nov. 2-13, near Pina's Country Store and Café, 3865 S. Robinson Drive, Lorena. The community is about 13 miles south of Waco in McLennan County. Health officials have determined that the kitten, about 2- to 3-months-old, was rabid.

"People who suspect they had contact with the infected kitten should talk to a physician to determine if their exposures warrant a series of rabies-prevention shots," the health officials said in a news release.

People usually get the rabies virus when saliva of an infected animal gets inside open cuts, scratches or wounds or through mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes or nose, the officials explained.

Typically that happens when a rabid animal bites someone, the officials said.

"Post-exposure shots can keep rabies from developing if given in time," the news release said. "Once symptoms of rabies occur in humans, rabies is almost always fatal."

For more information call the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District at 254-750-5411.