The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County has issued a Rabies Alert for the Northwest region of the county. The Alert is in response to a report of a dog being attacked by a bobcat in Jennings. The bobcat tested positive for the disease on Dec. 18. The Alert is in place for 60 days and includes areas located within the boundaries of CR 141 North, CR 143 North, and CR 146.
“It is very important residents are aware rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.” said Mark Lander, administrator, Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County. “This is a reminder for everyone to take precautions to keep your pets and family members healthy and safe.”
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. An animal with rabies can infect other wild or domestic animals not vaccinated against the disease. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies. 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 Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County issues the following reminders:
- 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. Wild animals can include raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
- 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 Department of Health in Hamilton County at 386-792-1414.
For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html.