LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Six wild animals have tested positive for rabies in Leon County.
That's prompting the county to put everyone on alert.
At least six people have been bitten by a wild animal who has rabies.
The Leon County Health Department says the cases involved four aggressive raccoons and two foxes and more animals could become rabid. So they are warning you to not approach any wildlife.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the nervous system and can lead to death if not treated properly.
"Raccoons or foxes that are out in the middle of the day, when they are active at night usually then they should be aware and alert," said Lindsey Young, Environmental Health Aid with Leon-DOH. "If they see a dog that is aggressive, a domesticated animal, in a public place they should report that as well."
The health department says to never adopt wild animals or bring them to your home.
This rabies alert is in effect through September 11.
A rabies alert has been issued for all of Leon County after several aggressive raccoons and foxes tested positive for rabies.
The Leon County Health Department issued the alert after four aggressive raccoons and two foxes in Leon County tested positive for rabies. We've reached out to the health department to find out where the animals were captured and are waiting to hear back.
They recommend that you take the following steps to protect yourself, your loved ones and your pets against rabies:
- Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter and 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.
- If you see a wild animal that appears to be in distress, contact Leon County Animal Control at (850) 606-5400.
· 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 Animal Control at (850) 606-5400.
- 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.
- 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 at (850) 404-6299.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. In Florida, rabies is most often observed in raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
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.
For more information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html, or contact DOH-Leon at (850) 895-8360.