Rabies Alert Declared in Pasco County
Pasco residents should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and pets are at risk if not vaccinated.
PASCO COUNTY – The Department of Health issued a rabies alert for southeastern Pasco County after a raccoon tested positive for the virus on Tuesday (Oct. 3).
All Pasco residents 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 should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been placed under an alert.
The rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is in the southeast area of Pasco and includes these boundaries:
* West of Morris Bridge Road
* South of State Road 54
* East of Ashton Oaks Boulevard
* North of Chancey Road
An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals 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 begun soon after exposure, will protect an exposed person from the disease.
The health department offers these tips:
* 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 information on rabies, go to doh.state.fl.us or contact Florida Department of Health Pasco County, (352) 521-1450, ext. 344.
File photo does not show a raccoon with rabies.
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