William Taylor of the Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County has issued a rabies alert for the East region of Hamilton County. This is in response to a cat that tested positive on 02/11/2014.
All citizens in Hamilton County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hamilton County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.
The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is an area at East Region and includes the following boundaries in Hamilton County:
East SR 6 and 12th Avenue
NE 32nd Street North
Central Ave West
SE 3rd Street
An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure, will protect an exposed person from the disease.
The following advice is issued:
Keep rabies vaccinations up to date on all pets.
Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Hamilton County Animal Control at (386)438-0286.
Call animal control to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County at (386)792-1414.
For further information on rabies, go the Florida Department of Health website:
http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County at 386-792-1414 or Hamilton County Animal Control at 386-438-0286.