The Florida Department of Health in Osceola County has issued a rabies alert for the Kissimmee area.
The alert is in response to a coyote that tested positive for rabies on Tuesday.
Health Department officials are asking the public to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Osceola County.
Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.
The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Sun Key Place, and includes the following boundaries in Osceola County:
•South to Choctow Trail, Happy Trails, Kissimmee.
•North to Orange Resort West, U.S. Highway 192, Kissimmee.
• East to Old Lake Wilson Road, Kissimmee.
• West to Westside Boulevard, Kissimmee.
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. 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.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
• Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
• 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 Osceola Animal Services at 407-742-8000 or Environmental Health at 407-742-8606.
• Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans 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.
• Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County Epidemiology Program at 407-343-2155.