A rabies alert has been issued for the northeast Orlando area after a domestic dog tested positive for the disease this past week.
The alert was issued by the Florida Department of Health in Orange County on Tuesday after a dog was bitten by a rapid raccoon and died of the disease. The dog was not up to date on his vaccinations.
Area residents and visitors are warned that rabies is present in the wild-animal population, and pets that have not been vaccinated are at risk.
The department asks for residents to maintain a heightened awareness regarding the disease, and the alert is slated to last for 60 days.
The center of the rabies alert is in northeast Orlando and includes Fairbanks area to the north, State Road 408 to the south, State Road 436 to the east and Interstate 4 to the West.
Residents outside of the alert area are advised not to fall into a false sense of security regarding the disease.
Domestic animals without vaccinations as well as wild animals are at risk of being infected by the disease, and the department advises that all pets be vaccinated. Contact with wildlife such as raccoons, bats, foxes, bobcats and other animals should be avoided.
The following advice is issued by the Florida Department of Health:
• 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 the Orange County Animal Services at 407-254-9130.
• Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
• 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.
• Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Orange County at 407-858-1400.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact Florida Department of Health in Orange County, 407-858-1400 or Orange County Animal Control 407-254-9130.