BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A rabies alert has been issued for a portion of Brevard County after a stray cat tested positive for rabies.
Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County said the cat tested positive Tuesday, prompting the alert to be issued for the Palm Bay area.
Health officials said the center of the alert is at Flounder Avenue and Americana Boulevard and includes the following boundaries in Brevard County:
- Melbourne Tillman Canal to the North
- Emerson Drive Northeast to the East
- Minton Road to the West
- Malabar Road to the South
The alert remains in effect for 60 days, according to health officials.
In addition to the alert, health officials issued a reminder to residents, asking them to remember that there is a risk for rabies in animals that are not vaccinated.
“All residents and visitors in Brevard 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 Brevard County,” the department said in a news release.
Department officials also said while the alert is designed to increase awareness in the area where a case of rabies was reported, the public should also be aware that rabies activities can also occur outside the alert area.
Health officials said pet owners should be aware that an animal with rabies could infect pets that have not been vaccinated.
“An animal with rabies could infect 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,” the department said.
According to the department, rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can be deadly to warm-blooded animals and humans.
Humans exposed to rabies can only be treated with rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization, officials said in the release. If the right treatment is started soon after someone is exposed to rabies, the exposed person should be protected from the disease, according to the department.
The Department of Health issued the following tips to residents and visitors to protect themselves:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
- Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services at 321-633-2024.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral 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 trash 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.
- Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to Brevard County Animal Services at 321-633-2024.
Click here for more information about rabies.