Dozens of students and staff vaccinated at NY school against rabies after exposure to rabid kitten

ByMarcus Solis and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Dozens of students vaccinated against rabbles exposure to rabid kitten
Marcus Solis has more on the investigation.

UPPER NYACK, New York (WABC) -- Dozens of students and staff are being vaccinated against rabies after being exposed to a rabid kitten at a Rockland County school.

The Summit School in Upper Nyack runs an animal care program as part of their therapeutic services for students with special needs.

An employee at the private residential school was fostering a kitten, named Rocky, who as a stray had visible cuts and abrasions. Rocky received his name because he was a fighter when he was brought to Four Legs Good, an animal shelter in Panoma. The kitten was checked by two veterinarians before being turned over to his foster family.

"The kitten was acting really playful, and the kitten was eating a lot, so there were no signs of anything too concerning at that time," said Dawn Bernstein with Four Legs Good.

A week later, Rocky tested positive for rabies.

Rocky had also come into contact with two other kittens, both of which came into contact with dozens of students and staff members.

The two other kittens became sick after their contact with Rocky but tested negative for rabies. One of the kittens died, and the other was put down.

Out of an abundance of caution, 85 students and staff members have now been vaccinated against rabies.

"Initially the fear was that so many people had been around these three kittens, and people were assuming that the other two would immediately come back positive," said Berstein.

The incident at Summit School is bringing light to a larger crisis, as the feral cat population is estimated to be between 50 and 55 thousand in Rockland County.

ALSO READ | New York City, Tri-State animal shelters at capacity, emblematic of national crisis


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