Rabies alert issued for part of Walt Disney World after feral cat scratches employees

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

A rabies alert has been issued for a 2-mile portion of Florida’s Walt Disney World after a feral cat scratched two employees.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County issued the 60-day rabies warning Tuesday after the cat tested positive for rabies. The warning covers the 2-mile radius of the intersection of Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive, which includes Disney's Epcot theme park.

A rabies alert has been issued for a 2-mile portion of Florida’s Walt Disney World that includes the Epcot theme park. Getty Images stock

"The two employees who were scratched by the cat are ok, were treated and returned to work," a Walt Disney World spokesperson told TODAY in an email.

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The cat was found "in a remote area of an office building parking lot," the spokesperson said.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County shared an announcement warning both residents and visitors that the identified cat may have infected other animals in the area.

"Contact with feral cats, stray dogs and all wildlife particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes should be avoided," the announcement said.

Anyone who gets scratched or bitten by a wild animal should immediately seek medical attention, the health department said.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. The disease can be deadly, but quick treatment can protect humans after they are exposed.

“Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public,” the announcement added. “This alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named under this alert.”

The 2-mile area under the alert covers only a fraction of Walt Disney World, which spans about 40 square miles and includes three other theme parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

The Disney Springs shopping and dining area, the Typhoon Lagoon water park and several hotels also sit outside the alert area.