A rabid otter in Florida has attacked a man and a dog, as confirmed by the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.
The incident occurred on September 23 in the 900 block of Marlin Drive in Jupiter, Florida, where the otter first bit the dog and subsequently the man, Joseph Scaglione, 74. Scaglione recounted that the otter attacked him for several minutes after he had been feeding corn to ducks at a nearby pond.
Describing the encounter, Scaglione stated, “I backed up along the fence but when I started to close the gate, it charged, immediately attacking my legs.” He suffered bites on both his arms and legs.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control captured the otter, which was then tested for rabies. The test results confirmed the presence of rabies. As of the time of the report,
Rabies is a severe disease that affects the central nervous system and can be fatal to both humans and warm-blooded animals if not promptly treated, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a news release, the Florida Department of Health emphasized, “The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment must be initiated as soon as possible after exposure to safeguard individuals from the disease.”
To safeguard residents in the area, the department issued a warning to refrain from making contact with wildlife, including any feral cats, and to promptly report any suspicious animals to Animal Care and Control. Additionally, they urged pet owners to keep their animals’ rabies vaccinations up to date and cautioned against handling, feeding, or adopting wild animals.