Cat in Winter Park tests positive for rabies

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County is issuing a rabies alert for an area in Winter Park, near Formosa Avenue and Biscayne Drive.

The alert is in response to a cat that tested positive for the disease. The identified cat may have infected other animals in the area. Jeremy and Shannon Henderson, neighbors in the area, described an attack from the animal. “

The cat bolted out from under the bushes to attack my Chihuahua,” said Shannon.The couple is now undergoing rabies treatment.

If you or a family member has been bitten or scratched by a cat in the rabies alert area of Winter Park or if you know anyone bitten or scratched by a cat, you should seek medical attention and contact Orange County Animal Services at 407-254-9150.

The following advice is issued:

  • All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
  • Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
  • Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
  • Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially feral cats, raccoons, bats, and foxes.

If bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention, and promptly report the incident to Orange County Animal Services.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The virus is spread through saliva, and humans may become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment which is started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.