The Florida Department of Health issued the alert after testing confirmed that the cat carried rabies

By Julie Mazziotta
July 12, 2019 11:47 AM
Epcot
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A two-mile portion of Florida’s Walt Disney World is under a rabies alert after a feral cat scratched two employees.

The employees did not get sick from the cat, which was found in an office building parking lot outside of the park, a spokesperson for Disney tells PEOPLE, but testing confirmed that the feline did carry rabies.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County warned parkgoers to be on alert for rabid animals around the intersection of Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive. They say in a press release that the cat may have infected other animals, such as “feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes,” and if people are scratched or bitten they should go to the doctor.

The alert only includes a small portion of the 40-square-mile park, but the department said that “this alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named under this alert,” and people should stay away from any animals, which a spokesperson for Disney emphasized.

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Rabies is rare but can be fatal if it is not treated immediately. Symptoms do not appear for several weeks, until the disease has spread to the brain, and by that time it is “nearly always fatal,” the Centers for Disease Control says.

But as long as people go to the doctor as soon as they are bitten or scratched by an unknown animal, they can learn if they have rabies and start on the rabies vaccine if they do.

The rabies alert at Disney World will last for 60 days, through to the beginning of September.

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