LAKE MARY, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is asking for increased awareness for rabies after a raccoon that attacked a woman and her dog tested positive for the disease.
The raccoon was identified in a neighborhood between Lake Mary Boulevard, Country Club Road and Rinehart Road, which is approximately three miles north of the Big Tree Park area, where an earlier rabies alert was issued on July 22.
"The person is recuperating at home and is receiving medical treatment that the Health Department is providing. The dog was fully immunized," said Mirna Chamorro with the Florida Department of Health.
The raccoon tested positive for rabies during the past week.
Last month health officials said several people were attacked by stray cats near Big Tree Park. Some of those felines tested positive for rabies.
Resident Paul Hammerl has taken precautions in his neighborhood nearby.
“It definitely is a concern because I have animals of my own and don’t want them getting nailed and coming into my house or anything like that,” Hammerl said.
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.
"Rabies if it's untreated in humans can cause paralysis and it can lead to death." said Chamorro. “It’s important to seek treatment immediately if a person has been exposed.”
Anyone who is has been bitten or scratched by a raccoon or if you know anyone bitten or scratched by a raccoon, please contact Florida Department of Health in Seminole County at (407) 665-3294.
For more information on rabies, visit the Department of Health's website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or the Center for Disease Control's website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies.