A rabies alert is in effect for 60 days after lab results have confirmed rabies in Sarasota County, according to the county’s office of the Florida Department of Health (DOH-Sarasota).
The alert, issued Tuesday, is for the Venice and North Port areas, according to a release, after rabies was confirmed Friday in a bobcat.
There have been two bobcat attacks within four miles of one another in east Venice, according to health officials.
Residents should maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is present in the area and domesticated animals are at risk if they have not been vaccinated.
Rabies is caused by a virus. In Florida, rabies is usually associated with bites or scratches from raccoons, bats, foxes, and un-vaccinated outside cats, the release stated.
DOH-Sarasota encourages residents not to keep pet food outside, secure garbage containers, and keep pets under supervision. If a pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Animal Services Section at 941-861-9500. If anyone sees or is approached by what appears to be an aggressive or ill animal, maintain a safe distance and contact law enforcement by calling 911 or the sheriff's office non-emergency line at 941-316-1201. Report an animal bite to DOH-Sarasota at 941-861-6133.
For more information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website or call the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County Environmental Health office at 941-861-6133 or Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Animal Services at 941-861-9500.