Rabies alert in effect for North Port

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NORTH PORT, Fla. — A rabies alert is in effect for North Port and Venice for the next 60 days following the discovery of a rabid bobcat, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota said.

Two bobcat attacks took place within a 4-mile radius in east Venice between Venice Avenue and U.S. 41, about 2 miles west of River Road, according to the department.

Rabies is caused by a virus that humans and other mammals can get through an animal bite. It can spread through contact with saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal through an open wound, the mouth, nose or eyes. It’s nearly always fatal without proper medical treatment.

Tips to prevent infection

  • Don’t keep pet food outside
  • Keep your garbage cans covered
  • Seek veterinary assistance immediately if a wild animal bites your pet and call the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Section at 941-861-9500.
  • Maintain a safe distance if you see an animal that appears aggressive or ill, and contact law enforcement immediately by dialing 911 or the sheriff’s office nonemergency line at 941-316-1201.
  • Seek immediate medical care if an animal bites or scratches you. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap or running water for five to 10 minutes. Report the incident to the department at 941-861-6133.

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