UPDATED: Dog Did Not Die of Rabies, CDC Says

Updated at 6:20 p.m. — A dog that authorities initially feared had died of rabies, potentially exposing the deadly disease to pets and people who visited a Cherrydale veterinary office, was not rabid according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a press release (below) the county says anyone who started rabies vaccinations should stop.

The Washington, D.C. Department of Health (DOH) learned today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCC) that a bulldog that initially tested positive for rabies was in fact NOT rabid. The update came after public health officials in the District of Columbia and in Arlington already had alerted the public and reached out to those who may have come in contact with the dog.

“Once the initial rabies test was positive, we had to act quickly to inform the public and to begin treatment of anyone exposed. Rabies, left untreated, is fatal. We are relieved that the CDC test confirmed that the bulldog, was not, in fact, rabid and that the public was not at risk.”

After conducting its own test of the dog, DOH sent the test sample to the CDC for confirmation, a routine step when there are questions about the results. In this case, the dog had been vaccinated for rabies and was not known to have had exposure to the deadly disease. The CDC results were NEGATIVE. The dog did not have rabies.

Anyone who began rabies vaccinations based on the initial test results is NOT AT RISK of rabies and should stop the vaccination series. It will not cause harm to stop the series.

Arlington residents who have questions should call (703) 228-5200 Option #1 and ask for the Nurse of the Day during business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) After hours call, (703) 228-5645 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned within 2 hours.

Earlier: Arlington County’s health department is trying to find those who might have had contact with a bulldog that has died of rabies.

The bulldog was brought to the Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic (4038 Lee Hwy) the morning of Saturday, July 8 and the afternoon of Friday, July 14, the county said in a press release. The county has been working with the clinic to identify and get in touch with those who might have had physical contact with the dog.

More from the press release:

A bulldog from Washington, DC that was seen at the Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic in Arlington County, has died of rabies, the District of Columbia Department of Public Health reports.

The dog was seen at the veterinary clinic on Sat., July 8 between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and again on Fri., July 14, from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) is working closely with staff at the clinic to identify and contact those people and their pets who may have been exposed to the bulldog there on July 8 and July 14 during the specified times.

If you believe you or your animal may have had contact with this dog at the veterinary clinic on those days and times, please contact ACPHD at (703) 228-5200, option #1, and ask for the nurse of the day. Those who had no physical contact with the bulldog are not at risk.

Rabies most commonly is spread from having direct contact with the saliva of a rabid animal. Those with potential exposure can be treated with human rabies immunoglobulin and rabies vaccinations to prevent rabies symptoms.

Once a person develops symptoms, there is no effective treatment and the disease is fatal. However, if the rabies vaccine is given before symptoms develop, this will effectively prevent rabies in a person exposed.

If you have questions or believe that you or your pet may have been exposed, call (703) 228-5200 Option #1 and ask for the Nurse of the Day during business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) After hours call, (703) 228-5645 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned within 2 hours.

The clinic sent the following letter to customers yesterday (Tuesday).

To our Loyal Clients,

We have been notified by public health officials that one of our canine patients at Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic has been diagnosed with suspected rabies. Currently we are awaiting confirmation of this diagnosis from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Rabies is a fatal neurological disease usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Here is a link to more information about rabies from the CDC:

In the meantime, we have been working closely with the Arlington Health Department and Arlington Animal Control to contact anyone our records show may have been at risk of exposure when the patient visited our clinic in the two weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

The patient was here the morning of Saturday July 8, 2017 between 10:00 and 11:00 AM and again on Friday July 14, 2017 from 3:00 to 3:30 PM. If you visited the office during these hours and have not yet been contacted by us, please give us a call or directly call the Arlington Health Department.

Those considered at risk for exposure include any client or pet who may have had any direct physical contact with this dog’s saliva or mouth in our waiting area.

Clients and patients in separate exam rooms, patients in our treatment area, those in the waiting room who had no physical contact with the dog and patients in our boarding facilities during the above times or at any other time are not considered at risk of exposure. We are here to support our clients and address concerns you may have.

As we receive more information from the Arlington Health Department or CDC we will update you. We also expect the Arlington Health Department to be reaching out to the community with a press release in the near future. If you have any questions, please give us a call and our doctors, as always, are available and happy to help.

Doctors and Staff at CVC

Photo via Google Maps

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