NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — Health officials say a kitten with rabies was found in New Port Richey recently.
The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County says four kittens were found in a parking lot in the 7700 block of Congress Street last month. The kittens were about two months old when they were found.
After the kitten died, it was tested for rabies due to aggressive behavior it was showing toward the other cats. Health officials have now confirmed the cat tested positive for the rabies virus.
At least six people were exposed to the kitten, according to the health department. All six of them have begun treatment for post-exposure.
The kittens were exposed to the rabies virus before they were dropped off in the parking lot, health officials say.
Anyone who has been bitten by cats, dogs, wildlife or any other animals are urged to contact their doctors and report the bite to the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County.
Rabies is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. All pets should be vaccinated against rabies, and contact with wildlife should be avoided. Humans exposed to rabies need to be treated after exposure to be protected from the disease.
The health department has these additional tips:
- Make sure all pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations
- If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek assistance from their veterinarian immediately
- Do not handle, feed or attract wild animals – don’t leave pet food outside or garbage cans open
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home
- Teach your children to never handle unfamiliar animals, even if they seem friendly
- Take action to prevent bats from entering homes, churches, schools and other areas where they could come in contact with people or pets
- If you’re bitten by an animal, wash the bite with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention from your family doctor or the hospital
- Report animals bites and scratches to Pasco County Animal Services at (727) 834-3216
- If you have concerns about wild animals, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at (863) 648-3200
You can learn more about rabies on the Florida Department of Health’s website.