SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Florida Department of Health issued a rabies alert for the Kendall area, Wednesday, after a raccoon tested positive on Tuesday.
The raccoon is the first confirmed rabid animal of 2017, and the first rabid raccoon identified since 2001, according to the FDOH in Miami-Dade.
Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry of the FDOH warned the community of the dangers of rabies. “Rabies is a deadly disease, like, 100 percent lethal disease,” he said. “Basically, it’s important that the community knows that because other raccoons and other wildlife, domestic animals and even people may have been exposed.”
The department is working with Miami-Dade Animal Services to identify any individuals who might have been exposed to the animal.
Many Kendall residents, like Maria Patino, said they are worried. “There was a raccoon that was found around here with rabies,” she said. “Watch out.”
“I’m a little surprised,” said another resident. “I haven’t heard that before around here.”
The alert is for 60 days, the FDOH said.
Officials said all pets should be vaccinated against rabies, and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly with raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes, according to FDOH.
The alert has been issued from Southwest 88th Street down to 95th Street, and from Southwest 107th Avenue across to 117th Avenue.
The FDOH urged residents not to feed stray animals and to call animal services if they see any stray animals. The number for animal services is 311.
If a pet has been bitten, officials urge owners to bring it to the veterinarian immediately.
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