A stray cat that attacked a resident on Hansonville Road in Frederick County Thursday has tested positive for rabies, the county Health Department said in a news release Monday.

The cat is described as a small, male gray cat with black stripes that is likely a young adult. The health department is advising anyone who may have had contact with the cat between Sept. 1 and Sept. 16 to contact their health care provider and notify the department’s community health services office at 301-600-3342.

If your pet has had contact with the cat, the health department advises you to consult with your veterinarian and notify the department’s environmental health office at 301-600-1717.

According to the department’s news release, rabies is a viral disease that mainly infects mammals and is spread through the saliva of the infected animal, usually by a bite. When an animal is infected, they may exhibit a fear of water, excessive salivation, failure to eat or drink, limping, unusually friendly or aggressive behavior or other atypical behaviors, such as nocturnal animals emerging during the daytime.

The disease is nearly always fatal to humans who are infected but do not seek post-exposure treatment, according to the release.

Barry Glotfelty, Frederick County’s environmental health services director, advised people not to touch or play with unknown animals and to make sure their pets are vaccinated. If you or your pets have contact with a stray or wild animal, the health department advises you to report it to animal control at 301-600-1544.

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier.

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