NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A cat in North Miami Beach has been euthanized after testing positive for rabies, marking the seventh confirmed case of the virus this year in Miami-Dade County, state health officials said Tuesday.
Four people who were exposed to the cat, which showed signs of neurological symptoms while in quarantine, have been advised to receive rabies treatments.
Health officials said the pet cat had been not vaccinated, making it susceptible to the virus.
In recent months, several raccoons tested positive for rabies in the same area around Zoo Miami in southwest Miami-Dade County. In those cases, health officials do not believe pets or people were exposed to the virus.
The Department of Health has issued a rabies alert for a portion of North Miami Beach for the next 60 days. The alert, which extends through Nov. 24, 2018, includes the area within the following bounds:
- Northeast 163rd Street to the north
- Northeast 151 Street to the south
- Biscayne Boulevard to the east
- Northeast 14th Avenue to the west
Health officials warned residents to secure their garbage cans and not to feed wild animals. Residents should also keep their pets under close watch to prevent contact with wild animals.
Raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes are frequent carriers of the virus.
"Check with your family doctor if there is a problem and if your pet was bitten they should be quarantined at a clinic or animal services for at least 10 days," Dr. Albert Williams, of the Arch Creek Animal Clinic, said. "First thing is make sure your pets are vaccinated for rabies. The other thing I'll say is stay away from stray animals. The cats we see people feeding haven't been vaccinated for rabies so they're a reservoir for the disease."
Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal should seek medical attention and report the incident to the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400.