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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A rabies alert has been issued for North Miami Beach on Tuesday after a cat tested positive for the disease.

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Miami-Dade Animal Control says the discovery of this rabid cat presents a serious public health threat.

They will be canvassing the area to notify residents about the importance of vaccines and even offer free vaccination events.

It was the first time a domesticated animal that has come down with the disease. Previously, only raccoons around Zoo Miami had tested positive for rabies.

The Florida Department of Health received confirmation of a cat that had tested positive for rabies in North Miami Beach.

The DOH says the unvaccinated pet had to be euthanized after it showed neurological symptoms consistent with rabies while in quarantine.

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Four humans who were exposed have been advised to receive rabies post-exposure vaccinations, officials said.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms include fever, headache, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis, and mental confusion.

Once symptoms appear, it’s almost always fatal.

This is the seventh confirmed rabid animal identified in Miami-Dade for 2018, but the first that wasn’t a raccoon.

The rabies alert will stand for 60 days.

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The Miami-Dade County boundaries for this alert is as follows:

  • NE 163rd Street to the North,
  • NE 151rd Street to the South,
  • Biscayne Blvd to the East,
  • NE 14th Avenue to the West