NEW PORT RICHEY — State health officials warned those who live in New Port Richey Estates to be wary of rabid wild animals in the area.
The Florida Department of Health issued a rabies alert Tuesday after two incidents. In one incident, a person was exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies. In the other, a dog encountered another rabid raccoon. Both incidents happened within a week of each other in the subdivision.
The alert, which lasts for 60 days, extends well beyond the limits of New Port Richey Estates. It also affects an area stretching west to the Gulf of Mexico, east to U.S. 19, south to Gulf Trace Boulevard and north to Hammock Road.
Rabies affects the nervous system and is fatal to humans and warm-blooded pets. Health officials advise vaccinating all domestic animals. If a person comes in contact with an animal suffering from the disease, he or she should seek immediate treatment.
Officials said animal bites and scratches should be reported to Pasco County Animal Services at (727) 834-3216, (813) 929-1212 or (352) 521-5194. For other questions, call health officials at (352) 521-1450 ext. 6144.