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Bat tests positive for rabies in suburban Boca Raton

Bat tests positive for rabies in suburban Boca Raton
Posted at 4:23 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 16:23:08-04

SUBURBAN BOCA RATON, Fla.-- A rabies alert has been issued for an area in suburban Boca Raton after a bat tested positive for the viral disease, according to the Palm Beach County Health Department.

It said the bat was "displaying neurological symptoms" and taken to a vet's office on August 13. Three days later a lab confirmed the mammal tested positive, the health department said.

As a result, a rabies alert is in effect for the area of Diego Drive in suburban Boca Raton and residents are urged to avoid coming in contact with wild animals. If you have had recent contact with a stray or wild animal, you are urged to call the department at 561-671-4184.

The health department said this is the fifth confirmed rabid animal this year in the county. 

The health department offers this advice:

* 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 Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1200.

* Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.

* Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

* 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.

For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website or contact the Florida Health Palm Beach County, 561-840-4500.