DAYTONA BEACH - The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County has issued a rabies alert for the western region of Volusia County. This is in response to two raccoons and one feral cat that tested positive for rabies in the last two months. 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.
All citizens in Volusia 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 Volusia 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 west Volusia County and includes the areas around DeLand, Orange City, and Deltona.
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; this includes feral cats. The following advice is issued:
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 and contact your local animal control services.
Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals or feral cats 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.
Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and ensure the injury is reported to the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County at 386-274-0634 or after hours at 386-316-5030.
For further information on rabies, please visit the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html.