Raccoon test positive for rabies, eighth animal this year

A raccoon killed off Deep Springs Road, north of Nonawood Road in Fountain, tested positive for rabies. (Alan Vernon / CC BY 2.0)

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A raccoon has tested positive for rabies in Bay County.

This is the eighth animal to test positive for rabies in Bay County this year.

The Bay County Health Department says the raccoon was killed off Deep Springs Road, north of Nonawood Road in Fountain.

In May, a Gray Fox was killed along Evergreen Street in Fountain. In April, a rabid raccoon was killed near Laird Street and Laurie Avenue in Panama City Beach. In March, rabid raccoons were captured and killed in the Cedar Grove area of Panama City and off Oakenshaw Drive in Youngstown. In February and March, rabid Gray Foxes were killed in the Lake Merial and north Resota Beach Road areas. In February, a rabid raccoon was killed along Sukoshi Drive in Callaway.

Health Department officials remind pet owners if you own a dog or cat over four months old, it must be vaccinated by a veterinarian.

Rabies is a fatal viral infection of the nervous system that is transmitted from animal to animal or animal to human by bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to infected saliva.

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.

Other tips from the Bay County Health Department include:
• If your dog or cat fights with a wild animal, contact the Bay County Health Department immediately. The wild animal will need to be tested for rabies. Your animal may need to be quarantined. Do not shoot suspected rabid animals in the head.
• 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. A rabid animal may act friendly.
• Wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear when dressing/butchering wild animals to avoid exposure to rabies and other diseases.
• Cook all meat thoroughly to 165 degrees.
• Do not hunt animals that appear sick.
• For general questions pertaining to stray animals or odd acting wild animals, contact your area’s animal control department.
• For questions regarding the health of a pet, contact a veterinarian.
• Teach your children about rabies and to NEVER TOUCH A BAT!

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