WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (FOX 13) - A cat tested positive for rabies, prompting a health alert for Pasco County residents living in the southwest area.
The rabid cat was reported on Tuesday. The rabies alert is for 60 days, and is meant to increase awareness for those living in the following boundaries:
- West of Madison Road
- South of Trouble Creek Road
- East of U.S. 19 Hwy
- North of Sunray Road
According to the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County, all residents and visitors in Pasco County should be aware that rabies is present in unvaccinated animals – both domestic and ones living in the wild.
An animal with rabies can infect other animals. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife should be avoided, health officials said.
Rabies is described as a disease of the nervous system, and can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure is a “rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization.” Officials said treatment should occur as soon as the exposure occurs.
DOH offered the following precautions:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
- If you are bitten by any animal seek care promptly. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
- Go to your family doctor or hospital for medical attention immediately.
- Contact Pasco County Animal Services at (727) 834-3216, (813) 929-1212, or (352) 521-5194 to report animal bites or scratches.
- Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for concerns about wild animals.
Additional information can be found on the Florida Department of Health website or call the county’s health department at 352-521-1450, option 2.