Rabies is “the most deadly virus on the planet.”
A North Miami Beach pet cat was euthanized Tuesday after showing signs of rabies, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade announced.
This makes the seventh animal to be infected with rabies — a disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans — in Miami-Dade this year. The other six animals were raccoons and found on the grounds of Zoo Miami in the Kendall area.
“This was an unvaccinated pet cat that had to be euthanized after it showed neurological symptoms consistent with rabies while in quarantine,” the health department said in a news release.
Four people were exposed to the cat and were given treatment, the department said.
The discovery has now sparked a rabies alert for 60 days, through Nov. 24, in the North Miami Beach area. The boundaries are: Northeast 163rd Street to the north, Northeast 151st Street to the south, Biscayne Boulevard to the east and Northeast 14th Avenue to the west.
The Kendall alert applies to the area bounded by Southwest 152nd Street on the north, 187th Street on the south, 117th Avenue on the east and 137th Avenue to the west.
Here are some tips to keep your animals safe against rabies:
▪ Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
▪ Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
▪ Stay away from stray and feral animals.
▪ Anyone bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400.
▪ If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, take it to the veterinarian immediately and call Miami-Dade Animal Services at 3-1-1.