A rabies alert was issued Friday by the Gulf County Health Department, after they received two confirmations of rabies in wild animals in the Wewahitchka area. A raccoon was found near Douglas Landing in Dalkieth and a fox was found near the cross section of N Hwy 71 and Jehu Rd. in northern Gulf County.
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that is spread from animal to animal or animal to human during a bite, scratch, or mucous membrane/open-skin exposure to the infected animal's saliva. Rabies in humans can be prevented if post-exposure medication is received early enough following an exposure (bite or scratch); well before the onset of symptoms.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR PETS ARE CURRENTLY VACCINATED FOR RABIES. SUPERVISE YOUR PETS WHEN THEY ARE OUTDOORS. Under the "Cruelty to Animals" Section of the Florida Statutes, dogs and cats over 4 months of age must be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. An animal with an expired rabies certificate is "unvaccinated." An animal given their vaccine by a person other than a licensed veterinarian is "unvaccinated."
Owning a dog or cat that is not currently vaccinated for rabies places the owner, family, and neighborhood at risk for exposure to this deadly disease. An exposed unvaccinated cat or dog must be quarantined for 6 months or euthanized as they may develop rabies and become contagious during that time following an exposure. Currently vaccinated dogs and cat must be quarantined for 45 days.
To avoid rabies: