GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — After a pet cat tested positive for rabies a few days ago, a rabies alert has been issued for certain parts of Gadsden County.
The Florida Department of Health Gadsden County issued the alert for the central geographical region of Gadsden County. The center of the rabies alert is south of I-10 in Quincy and extends from Old Federal Road North of Spooner Road to Highway 268/High Bridge Road in the area West of Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area.
The alert will stay active for 60 days.
Health officials say a domestic cat tested positive for rabies on April 2. The Quincy Animal Hospital says that the cat was brought in to them earlier this week.
Officials say all residents of Gadsden County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and say pets are at risk if not vaccinated.
They say the most common signs of rabies infection in animals are difficulty swallowing, vocalization changes, rear limb paralysis and behavioral changes. They say that aggression is possible, though it isn't the primary sign.
You should be on the lookout for any unusual signs in animals and vaccinate all healthy animals so they don't have a chance to contract the disease.
FDOH in Gadsden County shared the following advice:
• 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 Gadsden County Animal Control Services at (850) 875-8658.
• Call Gadsden County Animal Control Services 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 Gadsden County at (850) 875-7200, option 6.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html [floridahealth.gov], contact Florida Department of Health Gadsden County (850) 875-7200 option 6, or Gadsden County Animal Control (850) 875-8658.