ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (970 WFLA) - The Florida Department of Health in PascoCounty is expanding the boundaries for the previously issued rabies alert for the southeast geographical region of the county. This is in response to a raccoon found outside of the previous boundaries testing positive for rabies, officials said.

"In rural and urban surroundings rabies in the wild animal population, specifically raccoons are more prevalent than most people think," said Mike Napier, county health officer in a news release. "We urge you to be responsible pet owners and get your pets vaccinated and to educate your children to stay away from any raccoons or animals they are not familiar with."

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is in the southeast area of Pasco, and includes the following boundaries:

-west of County Road 535

-south of Centennial Road

-east of River Glen Blvd

-north of Chancey Road

All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes, health officials said.

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.

If you are bitten by any animal, officials say seek care promptly.

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