The Florida Department of Health in Orange County is issuing a rabies alert for an area of Orange County, Florida. This alert is for a two-mile radius centered around Hendry Drive and Okaloosa Avenue, and will last for 60 days or until further notice.
The alert is in response to a cat that tested positive for the disease. The identified cat may have infected other animals in the area. Contact with feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes should be avoided.
If you or a family member has been bitten or scratched by a cat in the rabies alert area of Orange County or if you know anyone bitten or scratched by a cat, you should seek medical attention immediately and contact Orange County Animal Services at (407) 254-9150.
Residents and visitors in this area of Orange County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population, and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in this area of Orange County.
Domestic or wild animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies could be infected by an animal that has rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies.
The following advice is issued:
- All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
- Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
- Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially feral cats, raccoons, bats, and foxes.
- If bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention, and promptly report the incident to Orange County Animal Services (407) 254-9150.
- Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
- For general questions pertaining to animals, contact Orange County Animal Services (407) 254-9150.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The virus is spread through saliva, and humans may become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment which is started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.
For more information on rabies, visit the DOH website at doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies.