Oklahoma State Health Department officials warning owners of possible rabies virus

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - State health officials are trying to get the word out about three potentially rabid kittens adopted in Tahlequah earlier this month.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a release Friday about the kittens, requesting those in contact with the adopted animals contact Epidemiologist-on-Call at (405) 271-4060 or (800) 234-5963.

According to the department, four kittens, around 9 weeks old with black and white markings, were put up for adoption on the Tahlequah Online Garage Sale Facebook page Oct. 1 and adopted at Tahlequah's Walmart parking lot.

Mobile users can see the kittens here -- http://bit.ly/165XB7I

Two days later, however, one of the kittens began showing signs consistent with rabies and was put down. Further testing confirmed the presence of rabies, the health department says.

RABIES: Signs and Symptoms (http://1.usa.gov/165SynR)

Health officials have yet to successfully reach the kittens' new owners. 

OSDH data shows there have been 71 cases of animal rabies in Oklahoma, including two cats. One other case was confirmed in Cherokee County.

The date also suggests the number of confirmed rabies cases has fallen dramatically in recent years, from 250 in 1980 to 60 in 2011.

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