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Cate McManus, 32

Veterinary Epidemiologist, Virginia Department of Health


The last person to die from rabies in Virginia was a healthy 25-year-old in Northern Virginia. No demographic is spared.

As a veterinarian with the state heath department, it's Cate McManus' job to try to make sure it doesn't happen again. She combats diseases that can be dangerous to humans and animals. Jack Bower, meet Dr. Doolittle.

Threats approached and diffused include avian flu and a band of feral hogs that had been illegally transported from Georgia to stock a game reserve. But her most frequent adversary is the rabid raccoon.

A native of Queens, N.Y., McManus' mom was a nurse and her dad was a legal-aid lawyer. McManus was born a vet, she says: “I've always been a complete bunny-hugger.”

After veterinary school, she went on active duty with the Army's Veterinary Corps monitoring food safety and caring for working dogs and other military animals making her a veteran vet. She's toying with the idea of joining up again.

On Saturdays she cares for the animals of her private clients and one Sunday a month she performs surgeries for a free spay and neuter clinic with the local nonprofit Operation Catnip.