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The Villages
Friday, May 27, 2022

Sumter County residents warned after cat tests positive for rabies in Webster

The Sumter County Health Department has issued a rabies advisory for the Webster area after a cat tested positive this past Thursday.

All residents and visitors in Sumter County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Sumter County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security for areas that have not been named under an alert.

This rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is in Webster and includes the following boundaries in Sumter County:

  • Northern boundary: C-478;
  • Eastern boundary: C-478A;
  • Southern boundary: Southernmost County Road 778; and
  • Western boundary: U.S. 301.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Sumter County Animal Services at (352) 689-4400.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people and pets.

Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Sumter County Health Department at (352) 569-3102.

For further information on rabies, click HERE. You also can call the Sumter County Health Department at (352) 569-3102 or Sumter County Animal Services at (352) 689-4400.

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