Neurotropic Virus with a High Mortality Rate is Present in Florida

Toni Koraza

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Neurotropic virus, Rabbies has been confirmed in 59 different animals across Florida since the beginning of 2021.

The virus can be fatal for humans. If left untreated, the infected have a 99% chance of dying.

Raccoons (28 cases) are responsible for the most cases, followed by foxes (15 cases) and bats (9 cases). Dogs (2 cases) are also known carriers of this deadly virus.

Leon and Orange accounted for the greatest number of cases in the state. People that come in touch with rabies can be in life-threatening danger.

"Approximately 60,000 Florida residents and visitors are bitten by animals (pets, stray animals, and wildlife) each year, with more than 2,000 of these people considered to have been potentially exposed to rabies and thus given post-exposure treatments (FDOH 2014)," according to a study from University of Florida.

Luckily for humans, monitoring and disease prevention is effective.

Pet and cattle owners have to vaccine their dogs, cats, ferrets, and similar animals. Licensed veterinarians are responsible for administering these shots, according to Florida law.

Still, even with all the health measures in place, two people died of rabies only months apart in Florida. The first case happened in October 2017, followed by another case in January 2018. Bats were the infectors in both cases.

Florida has accounted for 77 human deaths connected to rabies between 1881 and 2015.

Rabies can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Cerebral Dysfunction
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Delirium
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hallucinations
  • Hydrophobia (fear of water),
  • Insomnia

"The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death," according to the CDC.

Are you worried about rabies?

Other deadly viruses are also spreading around Florida.

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