Pasco cat tests positive for rabies
New Port Richey, Florida – Pasco County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for Pasco County. Officials emphasized the importance of rabies prevention after receiving a positive rabies test result from a stray cat on March 1, 2006. It is important that individuals protect themselves and take steps to prevent the spread of rabies.
“We want to stress the importance of not taking in strays” County Health Officer Marc J. Yacht, M.D., M.P.H. said. “Please teach your children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.”
The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Domestic animals account for less than 10 percent of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle and dogs most often reported rabid. Dogs and cats over four months of age are required to be vaccinated against rabies and wear a current rabies license tag. Pet ferrets should also be vaccinated.
If you are bitten by an unfamiliar animal seek care promptly. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Go too your family doctor or hospital for medical attention immediately.
Officials recommend the public take the following steps to protect themselves and to prevent the spread of rabies:
• Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of four months by a licensed veterinarian.
• Do not allow your pets to run free. If a wild animal bites your pet, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
• Keep your pets indoors.
• Do not pet, handle, or feed wild animals or unintentionally attract them with open garbage cans, litter or pet food.
• Do not use your hands to break up a fight between animals.
• Residents in the alert area should be cautious in that other animals could be infected in the area.
• Contact Pasco County Animal Control Services at (727) 834-3216 or (813) 929-1212 to report animal bites or scratches as well as stray dogs or cats or for instructions regarding wild animals exhibiting aggressive or unusual behavior.
• Contact the Pasco County Health Department at (727) 869-3900 ext 177 if you have additional questions regarding rabies or rabies vaccination.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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