Osceola County Animal Services is warning residents, but most especially pet owners, that Florida continues to see an increase in the incidence of rabies, in domestic animals like cats, just as much as in the wildlife population.

Here’s the awareness piece: Florida is a rabies endemic state, which means it exists in the wildlife population all the time. When domestic animals interact with these animals, the potential for exposure to rabies is always possible.

Locally, there was a report that a positive raccoon in Osceola County came into contact with a dog last week. Around the state, cats have tested positive for rabies in Seminole, Brevard and Baker Counties. Florida had 120 animals test positive for the rabies virus last year, including a coyote in Osceola County, a dog, several cats, and wild animals like raccoons and foxes, so rabies is not a disease to take lightly. It is fatal in humans once symptoms begin.

Do not take any chances with your pet’s health, or that of your family, friends, and community. Get pets vaccinated against rabies immediately, and share this warning to anyone who may have an unvaccinated pet or one behind on its rabies vaccination.

For additional information on rabies, please visit the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, and stay safe and positive Osceola County!