Two more Bay County raccoons have tested positive for rabies. The Bay County Health Department is reminding residents that Bay County is under a county-wide rabies alert. All cats and dogs should be supervised when outdoors and must be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
On February 22, 2012, two Panama City Beach raccoons tested positive for rabies. One raccoon was killed by dogs near the intersection of Laird Street and Treasure Palm Drive. The second raccoon was captured in The Glades community off Panama City Beach Parkway. A Fountain raccoon and a West Bay Bobcat tested positive for rabies earlier in 2012. In 2011, Bay County led the State of Florida with 10 animals testing positive for rabies, including seven raccoons, two domestic cats, and a bat.
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 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:
- Supervise your pets when they are outdoors.
- 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) 248-6034 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, bobcats, otters, foxes, skunks and coyotes. No animal is too young to have rabies.
For general questions pertaining to animals, contact the Bay County Animal Control at (850) 248-6034. For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
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 or contact Bay County Health Department at 850-872-4720, X1125.
Information provided by the Bay County Health Department