TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Florida Department of Health in Leon County has issued a rabies alert for southwestern Leon County, including western Tallahassee after two raccoons tested positive for rabies.
DOH-Leon said the alert was issued after two raccoons tested positive for rabies on November 2 and 6.
The alert areas include territory bordered on the north by I-10, the west and south by Capital Circle SW and the east by Monroe Street.
DOH-Leon stated please be aware that rabies activity can also occur outside the alert areas.
The rabies alert, which is scheduled to expire on January 7, has been issued to raise public awareness to the presence of rabies and the heightened importance of protecting against the disease.
DOH-Leon said take the following steps to protect yourself and your loved ones against rabies:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
- Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Leon County Health Department at (850) 895-8360.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash, litter or uneaten pet food.
- 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 DOH- Leon County at (850) 895-8360.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and can be 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.
Raccoons, bats, foxes and unvaccinated cats are the animals in Florida that are most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Other animals at high risk for rabies include skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats and stray or unvaccinated dogs and ferrets.
Rabies is transmitted through exposure to the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth.
DOH-Leon works with Leon County Animal Services in responding to incidents of animal bites, tests animals for rabies through the Department of Health state laboratory and quarantines animals as necessary.
For further information on rabies, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or contact DOH-Leon at (850) 895-8360.