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Health officials issue rabies alert

MIAMI ( October 17, 2018 )

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County established a new Rabies Alert Zone as described below.  The alert is in response to a cat that tested positive for rabies. Currently, one human exposure has been identified and is receiving rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). An additional person reported by a good Samaritan as scratched is being identified for PEP.

This is the eighth confirmed rabid animal (six raccoons and two cats) identified in Miami-Dade for 2018.

The rabies alert for the new area will be issued for 60 days, ending Dec. 14, 2018. The Miami-Dade County boundaries for this alert are as follows:

  • NE 186 St. to the south.
  • Royal Glades Canal to the south.
  • West Dixie Hwy. to the east.
  • NE 19 Ave. to the west.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or 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.  Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans.  The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease. Wildlife displaying erratic or unusual behavior should be reported to Miami-Dade Animal Services immediately by dialing 311.

Residents and visitors are advised of the following:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • We strongly encourage pet owners to vaccinate their pets at their local veterinarian. Rabies vaccines are also available seven days a week at Miami-Dade Animal Services.
  • Miami-Dade Animal Services is coordinating with the Department of Health and the City of North Miami Beach to provide information and encourage pet owners to vaccinate their vets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Miami-Dade Animal Services at 311.
  • Call 311 to report any stray dogs in your neighborhood or private property owners can hire a wildlife trapper. For a list of trappers, visit https://public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx.
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Avoid contact with stray and feral animals. Do not allow your pets to come into contact with wild animals.
  • Never bring a wild animal 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 Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400.

Get further information on rabies, or call the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400, or Animal Services at 311.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

About Miami-Dade County Animal Services

Every year Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services) provides care and refuge for 28,000 to 30,000 unwanted dogs and cats. Every day, Animal Services staff and volunteers work diligently to find life-long homes for these abandoned animals by facilitating onsite adoptions, hosting off-site adoptions at events and locations throughout the community, and working collaboratively with over 100 rescue organizations and partners helping us to meet and maintain a 90 percent save rate.