The Hamilton County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for the Jennings area of Hamilton County. This is in response to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies on April 26, 2013.
All citizens in Hamilton 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 heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hamilton County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not give 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 NW 9th Drive and includes the following area boundaries in Hamilton County:
- Cr 141 north
- CR 152
- The Alapaha River
All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies, and all wildlife contacted should be avoided. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.
The following advice is issued:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for 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.
- Call your local animal control agency 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 Hamilton County Health Department at (386)792-1414.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html.