As the wars edge toward a close in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is hunting a new enemy–an adorable, furry widdle kitty enemy.
I mean, isn’t the yawning kitten in Army’s new rabies awareness poster so cute? Yes, he is.
“During deployment,” it warns, “Even kittens can be deadly!” It’s the old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover.
And it’s probably warranted. A soldier actually died of rabies in August after he was bitten while breaking up a dog fight in Afghanistan in January. It’s just awful, especially since rabies is treatable.
The mother of the soldier said her son would have survived if he had been given proper treatment, and Central Command has been investigating the case.
Soldiers who may have been exposed to rabies while deployed have been urged in an Army-wide memo to seek medical attention immediately, as we recently reported in the newspaper.
The virus can be prevented with prompt treatment, but once symptoms emerge, “death is almost always certain,” according to Army Medical Command. The virus attacks the body’s central nervous system. Rabies normally incubates in host bodies for one to three months before the onset of symptoms, which include mood swings, painful swallowing and a flu-like malaise.
The most important first step is to flush an exposed site with water for at least 15 minutes. Medical facilities in war zones are also able to provide a series of four to five vaccinations.