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Rabid animal found in Charlotte County neighborhood

courtesy Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Raccoons are one of the warm-blooded animals prevalent in Florida that can carry rabies, as are skunks, bats, and foxes.

An animal tested positive for rabies on Wednesday in Charlotte County, prompting health officials to issue a rabies alert for the Port Charlotte area.

The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County did not identify what type of animal was found to be rabid, or if it was a pet or a wild animal, but rabies are typically found in wild bats and raccoons. The rabies alert was issued because, while it’s not easy, the disease can move from infected wild animals to family pets to family members and, if not treated early, rabies is nearly always fatal.

The rabies alert is centered around Turbak Road in Charlotte County. People who work, live or shop in the greater community should remain vigilant, particularly in the area that includes the boundaries of Peace River Shores Boulevard north to Palm Shores Boulevard, and from Live Oak Boulevard west to Lafayette Street.

Any mammal, or warm-blooded animal with fur, can get infected with rabies. Cold-blooded creatures like birds, fish, and snakes cannot. In addition to bats and raccoons, wild animals in Florida that typically infect people are skunks, foxes, and coyotes. However, the number of human cases of rabies in the United States is rare – three people or less annually – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To avoid a chance that Fido or Princess might bring the disease into the household keep all rabies vaccinations current.

If there is a stray animal in your neighborhood, do not approach it. Instead, call Call Charlotte County Animal Control at (941) 833-5690.

Environmental reporting for WGCU is funded in part by VoLo Foundation, accelerating change and global impact by supporting science-based climate solutions, enhancing education, and improving health.