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HEALTH OFFICIALS ISSUE RABIES ALERT

By Deanna Krautner

November 10, 2015

HEALTH OFFICIALS ISSUE RABIES ALERT 

New Port Richey – The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County has issued a rabies alert. This is in response to one individual being exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies, and, a vaccinated dog being exposed to different raccoon that tested positive for rabies. These incidents occurred within one week of each other.

All residents and visitors in New Port Richey Estates area 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. Alerts are designed to increase awareness of the public.  However, residents should not get a false sense of security in areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days.  The rabies alert includes the following boundaries in Pasco County:

  • Western boundary Gulf of Mexico
  • Southern boundary Gulf Trace Blvd.
  • Eastern boundary US 19
  • Northern boundary is Hammock/Ranch Road

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies.  All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly with raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.  Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans.  The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

 

Residents and visitors are advised to take 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 1-863-648-3203 for concerns about wild animals.

 

For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health Pasco County, (352) 521-1450 ext. 6144.