The Administrator of the Bay County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for the eastern geographical region of Bay County, Florida. This is in response to cats that tested positive for rabies on September 20, 2011 and October 12, 2011.
All citizens in Bay County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population. Domestic animals are also at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Bay 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 centers of the alert include the Bayhead area of Youngstown and the area north of 7th Street, between School Avenue and Transmitter Road, in Springfield. The rabies alert includes the following area boundaries in Bay County:
— East of Highway 77
— South of Highway 231
— North of Highway 231
— East of Deerpoint Lake
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. 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:
— All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
— Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
— Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
— For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
— Veterinarian staff and animal control staff should be alert for animals encountered with signs suspicious for rabies and use appropriate precautions, especially when working with unvaccinated animals.
— 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.
— 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 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.