A raccoon killed near the north end of College Point has tested positive for rabies.
This is the fourth Bay County animal testing positive for rabies in 2013. Other areas with confirmed rabid animals in 2013 include the City of Parker at north 9th Street and Lake Drive, the east end of the Laguna Beach area of Panama City Beach, and Southport off Highway 2302.
The Florida Department of Health in Bay County is reminding dog and cat owners that Florida law requires all dogs and cats over four months of age be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Most laboratory confirmed rabid raccoons are killed by dogs and domestic cats are the animal third most likely to test positive for rabies for in our area. An unvaccinated pet increases your family's risk for exposure to this deadly disease. Vaccines purchased at "feed stores" and given by the animal's owner do not meet this requirement. Dogs and cats without a current rabies vaccination should not be left outside unsupervised.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The rabies virus is secreted in the saliva of an infected animal or human. Exposure to the virus can be through broken skin (bites, scratches) or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) contact with infected saliva or tissues. 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.
The Florida Department of Health in Bay County would like to remind citizens that it is illegal to feed raccoons, either directly or indirectly. Feeding raccoons artificially increases their population and increases the likelihood diseases like rabies will spread and conflicts with domestic animals will occur. All wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
The following advice is issued:
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: website http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at 850-872-4720, X1125.