Rabies alert issued for part of Disney World
Published Saturday, July 13, 2019 12:14PM EDT
Health officials in Florida have issued a rabies alert around Disney World’s Epcot theme park after a feral cat tested positive for the disease.
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County issued a 60-day rabies alert for a 3.2 kilometre radius around the intersection of Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive.
Rabies can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans, the department said.
“The identified cat may have infected other animals in the area,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Contact with feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes should be avoided.”
A Disney World spokesperson confirmed to Time that two employees were scratched by the cat, but were not infected and are back at work.
“This alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named under this alert,” the department said.
The virus is spread through saliva and humans may become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal.
If bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention, the statement said.
Florida health officials said the only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin (antibody) and rabies immunization.