Miami-Dade County

Rabid raccoon in Kendall leads to public health alert

A raccoon peers out from a wooden walkway at Secret Woods Nature Center in Fort Lauderdale near a block of fishmeal bait containing oral rabies vaccine. Florida health officials issued a rabies alert for the Kendall area after capturing a raccoon that tested positive for the virus, which can be deadly.
A raccoon peers out from a wooden walkway at Secret Woods Nature Center in Fort Lauderdale near a block of fishmeal bait containing oral rabies vaccine. Florida health officials issued a rabies alert for the Kendall area after capturing a raccoon that tested positive for the virus, which can be deadly. Miami Herald File, 2005

Florida health officials have an important message for residents in the Miami suburb of Kendall: Avoid wild animals for the next two months, and make sure your dogs, cats and other domesticated animals are up to date on their rabies vaccines.

A rabid raccoon — the first confirmed in Miami-Dade since 2001 — was captured in the Kendall area and tested positive for the deadly virus this week, the Florida Department of Health reported on Wednesday.

The state’s rabies alert lasts for 60 days and covers the area of Miami-Dade County between Southwest 88th and 95th Streets from Southwest 107th to 117th Avenues.

The raccoon is the first confirmed rabid animal this year in Miami-Dade, and state and county officials have been working to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the infected animal because the disease can be fatal without prompt treatment.

Rabid animals can infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against the virus, and state health officials warned Kendall-area residents to pay special attention to avoiding raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

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