Rabies alert issued in Zuber space after cat checks optimistic for lethal illness

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County issued a rabies alert after a cat in the Zuber area tested positive for rabies.

People who live or work in the Zuber area – especially those who live south of W. Hwy. 326, west of NW 44th Avenue, north of NW 53rd Street, and east of NW Hwy. 225A – should maintain increased awareness that rabies is active in the area.

An animal with rabies could infect other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination. Pets are at risk if they are not vaccinated. Rabies is always a threat in wildlife populations.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal or pet, see a doctor and report the injury to your health department. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary attention for the animal immediately and contact your county Animal Services department.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to humans and warm-blooded animals. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immunoglobulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started shortly after exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions to avoid exposure to rabies:

  • Avoid all contact with wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Never treat unfamiliar animals (wild or domestic), even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not inadvertently feed or attract wild animals with open trash cans or trash.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Keep pets under direct supervision so that they do not come into contact with wild animals.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they can encounter people and pets.

For more information on rabies, visit www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies.