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Rabies Alert Issued for the Longwood/Winter Springs Area in Seminole County

By Mirna Chamorro

December 08, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2014

Contact: Mirna Chamorro
407-858-1418

RABIES ALERT ISSUED FOR THE LONGWOOD/WINTER SPRINGS AREA IN SEMINOLE COUNTY

SANFORD - The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is issuing a rabies alert for the Longwood/Winter Springs area. The alert is in response to two raccoons that tested positive for the disease during the past week. The raccoons were identified in Longwood/Winter Springs area including Central Winds Park and the Spring Hammock Preserve near where an earlier rabies alert was issued on July 22, 2014. If you or a family member has been bitten or scratched by a raccoon or if you know anyone bitten or scratched by a raccoon, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County at (407) 665-3294.

Residents and visitors in Seminole 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 Seminole County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public. This alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under this alert. This rabies alert is for 60 days.

Domestic or wild animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies could be infected by an animal that has rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies. Contact with feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes should be avoided.

The following advice is issued:

  • All pets should have current rabies immunizations.

  • Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.

  • Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.

  • Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially feral cats, raccoons, bats, and foxes.

  • If bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention, and promptly report the incident to Seminole County Animal Services.

  • Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.

  • For general questions pertaining to animals, contact Seminole County Animal Control.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The virus is spread through saliva, and humans may become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment which is started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

For more information on rabies, visit the DOH website at doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies.

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