Rabies alert issued for Weston; Florida area Blog Write- Up by Radhika Chhetri
September 25, 2021
What: On September 21, 2021, in Broward County, Florida, the Department of Health issued a rabies outbreak alert, with a portion of Weston being a major focus (News Desk, 2021). The rabies alert was issued in response to a fox that had just tested positive on September 17th, 2021. Florida Reports 53 animals tested positive of rabies in the first eight months of 2021. There have been no current confirmed cases of the disease on domesticated animals or infection to humans, but it was a necessary precaution to sensitize the public.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) (2021), rabies is described as a deadly virus that is transmitted or spread to individuals by coming into contact with the saliva of infected animals. A bite by the infected animal, hence coming into conduct with its saliva on the open wound, is the primary mechanism in rabies transmission to humans. Foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and bats are the most likely animals responsible for rabies transmission in the United States.
Why Important: According to CDC, each year more than 59,000 people died from rabies around the world while rabies is 100% preventable disease. The alert was meant to warn all Broward County residents and visitors to be aware of rabies presence in the wild animal population. Additionally, this alert was meant to initiate a massive vaccination of domestic animals whose rabies immunization schedules were not updated, owing to the great risk of transmission of the disease. The alert was designed to maintain a heightened awareness among the public members of the reported rabies case in the wild fox (News Desk, 2021). It was also speculated that rabies could occur beyond the alert areas. Infected individuals were initially present with flu-like symptoms, which only last a day. Later on, they would present with anxiety, fever, headache, nausea, dysphagia, insomnia, excessive salivation, and hyperactivity. The disease can be lethal if no treatment is initiated immediately; hence those reported to have been bitten by a wild or domestic animal should receive rabies vaccination along with other adjunctive therapies.
Opportunities: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rabies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351821. This video link directs to an external source for the description of the signs and symptoms of the disease as illustrated by the Mayo Clinic. Rabies is a lethal infection with dire detrimental effects on the CNS.
Public Health Implications: According to CDC, September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. World Rabies Day is observed in many countries, including the United States. Alert for the outbreak of infections, especially contagious diseases, is an issue of public awareness. The rabies alert was a vital intervention by the Florida Department of Health to sensitize the residents and visitors to the county of the health risks involved if they do not take precautions measures relevant to the region and nature of the disease (Florida Health, 2021). It is recommended that individuals should keep their pets vaccinated against rabies and restrict their movement. Wild animal conduct should be limited henceforth. Bats and other wildlife should be prevented from entering living quarters. Following rabies exposure, humans are required to get rabies immunization and specific immune globulin as the appropriate preventive measure (WHO, 2021). Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home without vaccination. Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and reported the injury.