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Pasco County Health Officials Issue Rabies Alert

By Melissa Watts

March 21, 2019

New Port Richey, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County has issued a rabies alert for the southwest geographical region of Pasco County. This is in response to a cat that tested positive for rabies reported on March 19, 2019.

All residents and visitors in Pasco 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 Pasco County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is in southwest area of Pasco and includes the following area boundaries:

  • West of Madison Road
  • South of Trouble Creek Road
  • East of U.S. 19 Hwy
  • North of Sunray 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 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 or by leaving pet food outside.
  • 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 863-648-3200 for concerns about wild animals.

For further information on rabies, go to Florida Department of Health website or call the Florida Department of Health Pasco County at (352) 521-1450 option 2.