The Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) is issuing a rabies awareness for the main campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in east Orlando, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32816.
In recent weeks, DOH-Orange’s Epidemiology Program has been notified of four separate events of individuals that came in close contact with racoons on the UCF campus. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness.
Currently, there are no confirmed cases of rabies on the UCF campus. All residents and visitors to the campus should be aware that rabies is always present in the wild animal population. This awareness should also be extended to stray dogs and feral cats.
If you or a family member has been bitten or scratched by an animal in the rabies awareness area or any animal, you should seek medical attention immediately and contact Orange County Animal Services at (407) 254-9150.
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.
Please be aware that rabies activities can also occur outside the alert area. Contact with feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes should be avoided.
An animal with rabies could infect 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.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
- Do not feed wild animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside.
- All pets and at-risk livestock should have current rabies immunizations.
- Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild 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 (407) 254-9150.
- Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
- Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Orange County Animal Services at (407) 254-9150.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Teach children to never 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.
For general questions pertaining to animals, contact Orange County Animal Services (407) 254-9150. For more information on rabies, visit the DOH website at doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html, the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies or contact the Florida Department of Health in Orange County at (407) 858-1420.
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.