Bay County - On Sunday, December 4, 2011, a rabid raccoon attacked a small dog in the area of Rusty Gans Drive off of North Lagoon Drive on Panama City Beach. In response, the Bay County Health Department is again extending the current county-wide rabies alert. The alert will now expire February 4, 2012.
This is Bay County’s sixth rabid raccoon and ninth rabid animal overall for 2011. Two cats and a bat have also tested positive for rabies in Bay County.
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.
An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. The Cruelty to Animals section of the Florida Statutes require all dogs and cats over 4 months of age to be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
The Bay County Health Department would like to remind citizens that it is illegal to feed raccoons, either directly or indirectly. Feeding raccoons artificially increases their population and increases the likelihood diseases like rabies will spread and conflicts with domestic animals will occur. All wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
The following advice is issued:
Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
Do not leave pet food outside overnight as this attracts wild animals to your home and increases the chance of a pet-raccoon conflict.
If bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Seek medical treatment as needed and report the injury to the Bay County Health Department at (850) 872-4720, X1125. If the animal is a stray or wild animal, call Bay County Animal Control at (850) 248-6030 and report its location. Follow up. Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
Do not touch animals that are not yours. Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, and Foxes. No animal is too young to have rabies.
For general questions pertaining to animals, contact the Bay County Animal Control at (850) 248-6030.
For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
Teach your children about rabies.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: website:
http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact Bay County Health Department at 850-872-4720, X1125.