A raccoon killed near the intersection of E. 12th Street and Bob Little Road in the City of Springfield has tested positive for rabies. The Florida Department of Health in Bay County would like to remind citizens that Florida law requires all dogs and cats over four months of age to be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Animals given "feed-store" rabies vaccines by their owners are not legally vaccinated.
Most laboratory confirmed rabid raccoons are involved in conflicts with dogs. Following raccoons and bats, domestic cats are the animal third most likely to test positive for rabies in Florida. An unvaccinated pet increases your family's risk for exposure to this deadly disease. Dogs and cats without a current veterinarian-administered rabies vaccination should not be left outside unsupervised.
This is the seventh Bay County animal testing positive for rabies in 2013. Other Bay County animals testing positive for rabies in 2013 include five raccoons and one domestic cat, the most recent being rabid raccoons killed off North Lagoon Drive in September and near the south end of the Baily Bridge in October.
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.
Raccoons and bats are the Florida animals most frequently testing positive for rabies. Raccoons can secrete the rabies virus in their saliva before they have noticeable symptoms. All contact with raccoons and bats should be avoided. As well, 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 dogs or cats will occur.
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.
Information provided by the Bay County Health Department