Florida Department of Health officials have issued a rabies alert in Pasco County after three people were exposed to a cat that tested positive for the disease.
Anyone living in or visiting the New Port Richey Estates area should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population there and should maintain a heightened awareness, the department of health said in a news release.
Pets are at risk if not vaccinated, the release said.
The alert will last for 60 days includes the area within the following boundaries:
♦ Western boundary US19
♦ Southern boundary Bellview Ave
♦ Eastern boundary Bellview Ave (because the road curves)
♦ Northern boundary is Cotee River Drive
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.