The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has released a Rabies alert this week within two miles of Epcot Center Drive and Interstate 4 in the southwestern part of the county, following tests on a wild cat with the disease. A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said the cat had scraped two employees but that they did not get sick.
The authorities said that other animals in the area could have been infected and warned residents and visitors to avoid "wild cats, stray dogs and all wild animals, especially raccoons" , bats, foxes, skunks, otters, wildcats and coyotes. a wild animal should consult a doctor, said the health department. Rabies is deadly, but rapid treatment can protect a person after exposure.
The two-mile radius is only a fraction of the Walt Disney World Resort's area of approximately 40 square kilometers. It includes part of Epcot, one of the four theme parks on the property, as well as the shops and restaurants of Disney Springs, the Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and some hotels. The wildcat was found in none of these popular places with tourists, but rather in an isolated parking area outside an office building.
"Alerts are designed to educate the public," the Ministry of Health said. "This alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named under this alert."
The alert is in place for 60 days – throughout the busy summer season in the parks. Hollywood's Disney Studios, which expect a crowd of visitors to its new Star Wars neighborhood from Aug. 29, are outside the Alert Zone, along with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks. Animal Kingdom animals are vaccinated.
Disney spokeswoman Erica Ettori said in an email that the company had shared the alert with employees to prepare them to respond to visitors.
"We continue to encourage our actors and guests not to be interested in wildlife," she said.
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