Pasco County, Florida -- A recent confirmed case of rabies in northwest Pasco has prompted health officials to issue an alert to residents.
The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County says the alert was issued in response to a cat that tested positive for rabies reported on July 25 and is designed to increase public awareness.
The alert will remain in effect for 60 days and includes the following boundaries:
- North of Hudson Avenue
- South of County Line Road
- East of Little Road
- West of Shady Hills
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.
Health officials offer the following advice for residents:
* Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
* 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 by leaving pet food outside, or garbage cans open.
* 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 and for information on stray dogs and cats.
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 the Florida Department of Health website or contact Florida Department of Health Pasco County, (352) 521-1450 ext. 344.