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Raccoon tests positive for rabies, alert extended for parts of Tallahassee

88-year-old Florida man arrested, accused of burning raccoon alive for eating his mangoes
Posted at 3:01 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 15:01:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - After another raccoon tested positive for rabies this month, the Florida Department of Health in Leon County has issued an extension to the rabies alert for west Tallahassee.

The initial alert was issued in early November.

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. Rabies activity can also occur outside the alert area.

Health officials say the rabies alert will expire April 20, unless additional cases of rabies are reported.

The extension was issued in response to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies on Feb. 8 and a report of an "aggressive" raccoon on Feb. 18.

"An animal with rabies could infect domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies," health officials say. "All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all contact should be avoided with wildlife, 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.

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 Animal Services 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.
  • 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.
  • 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) 895-8360.

For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html, or contact DOH-Leon at (850) 895-8360.