UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): One person, a worker at an animal rescue, was exposed to the rabies virus after being bitten by the cat. She is apparently receiving treatment.

ORIGINAL STORY: A stray kitten found recently in the Westlake Valley area of Sanford has tested positive for rabies, leading to a call by authorities for people in the area to be cautious about any stray animals they encounter.

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter posted the following on Facebook Friday morning:

Meanwhile, a member of a neighborhood-based  Facebook group posted two updates, first indicating that she’d found an injured kitten and a second saying she’d eventually turned it over to a Chatham County animal rescue, where it died and tested positive for rabies. The first post was made last Saturday; the second on Friday:

The person who made the posts was not exposed to the disease.

Rabies is fatal in animals, and also in humans if not treated before symptoms manifest. The Humane Society of the United States has a good primer on rabies and what to do if you encounter (or are bitten by) an animal you think is rabid, but the sheriff’s advice above is probably the simplest way to put it – if you see a stray animal, avoid it and contact Lee County Animal Control at (919) 775-5531.

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