Rockland County students exposed to rabies after caring for kittens

An unknown number of students fell ill after being exposed to rabies.

The Pets for Purpose program at the Summit School in Nyack allows students to learn about how to care for animals and build self-confidence when tending to them.

According to the school principal, several weeks ago, the school decided to continue a partnership with Four Legs Good Animal Shelter by fostering three four-week-old kittens, which were all medically cleared to be fostered.

While the students learned care and compassion toward the animals, one of the 1-pound kittens fell ill. 

In a statement, principal Deborah Dolan said staff immediately brought the kitten to a local animal hospital. 

"After postmortem testing revealed the deceased kitten had Rabies, we immediately began our partnership with the Rockland County Department of Health to ensure we were appropriately responding to this unanticipated and incredibly unfortunate situation."

The school hasn’t said how many students or adults were exposed to the rabid kitten, but doctors told Fox 5 NY that it is imperative they get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The Rockland County Health Department says ""With the assistance of the involved exposure site, and in partnership with Good Samaritan and Montefiore Nyack hospitals, Rockland County Department of Health expeditiously identified all contacts and vaccinations are being implemented. "

According to the shelter that euthanized the kitten, they were told that the students said "we played with and pet the kitten." 

The two other kittens that were fostered appear to be fine, but are being closely watched.