Broward County health officials issued a rabies alert after a stray cat tested positive Tuesday and warned that pets are at risk if they are not vaccinated.
“The public is asked to be very aware that rabies is active in Broward County. The alerts are designed to increase public awareness. Please note that rabies can also occur outside of the alert area,” the Broward Department of Health (DOH-Broward) said.
The alert was issued for the following areas for a period of 30 days: SW 36th Court to the north, Florida Turnpike to the east, Orange Drive to the south and Davie Road to the west.
An animal with rabies could infect pets that have not been vaccinated against rabies, so DOH-Broward urges that all pets should be vaccinated and all contact with wildlife 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 preventive measure for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immunoglobulin and immunization.
What precautions should be taken?
▪ Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all at-risk pets and livestock.
▪ Don’t let your pets run free. Follow leash laws when keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Animal Control Services for your jurisdiction.
▪ Support animal control in efforts to reduce wild and stray animal populations.
▪ Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
▪ Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered litter or garbage.
▪ Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
▪ Teach children never to touch unknown animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.
▪ Prevent bats from entering dwellings or occupied spaces in houses, churches, schools and other similar areas, where they can come into contact with people and pets.
▪ People who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to DOH-Broward at 954-467-4700.
For more information on rabies, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-condiciones/rabia/index.html.
This story was originally published on July 20, 2022 11:18 a.m.