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Eight people from three Duchesne County families are undergoing a series of rabies vaccinations to counteract possible exposure to the deadly virus earlier this month.

Duchesne County Chief Deputy Sheriff Doug Horrocks said three adults and five children are either undergoing the treatments or would begin them soon.The three families are related and live in the same neighborhood about 21/2 miles east of Duchesne. Arwella Moon and her 3-year-old grandson started receiving the shots earlier this week after authorities determined they were exposed to a rabid kitten.

Moon was bitten by the cat, and her grandson was scratched. When the cat, which had been foaming at the mouth, died suddenly, it was sent to the state laboratory in Salt Lake City and doctors determined that it was carrying the rabies virus.

Horrocks said tests conducted this week by the state laboratory on three other kittens and two adult cats all came back negative. So far, the kitten was the only house pet infected with the disease, although Moon had told authorities that bats living in her attic had been acting strangely before the cat showed symptoms of the disease.

Family members had killed the bats before the kitten showed signs of rabies, and their carcasses were not available for testing.

Horrocks said five others in the family were receiving the series of seven shots because the kitten either scratched them, bit them or exposed them to its saliva. The shots must be given at the same time each day.

State health officials have said the case is the first confirmed exposure of rabies in a cat in Utah since 1986.