Rabid cat prompts alert for Ortega area

Duval County health department issues rabies alert for portions of Ortega, Ortega Forest, Venetia, Ortega Farms, Wesconnett

The Florida Department of Health in Duval County issued a rabies alert for part of the Westside. (Florida Department of Health in Duval County)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County on Tuesday issued a rabies alert for an area of the Westside.

The warning was prompted by a rabid cat in the Wesconnett area and will remain in effect through Sept. 8, the Duval County health department said.

The alert includes parts of the Wesconnett, Ortega Farms, Ortega Forest, Ortega, Venetia and Yukon neighborhoods. The alert area is bordered on the north near Robert Gordon Drive and Prince Edward Road, bordered on the south near Blain Street and Patrol Road at Roosevelt Road, bordered on the east by Fair Lane at Timuquana Road, and bordered on the west near Little Acres Lane at Timuquana Road.

Rabies is a viral 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. Timely treatment after an exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

Health officials reminded the public that all domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes

People are urged to follow this guidance:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Always maintain control of pets.
  • If a pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact the Florida Department of Health in Duval County at 904-253-1280.
  • Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the state Department of Health in Duval County at 904-253-1280.
  • Animal control should be called to remove any stray animals from neighborhoods.
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving pet food outside or by leaving garbage cans open.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into homes.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear cute or friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces.