A raccoon received by the Jackson County Health Department has tested positive for rabies according to lab results recently received from the Department of Health Pensacola Branch Lab. The raccoon fought with and was killed by a dog on Hwy 90 in the Cypress area. The dog was euthanized to prevent possible spread of the disease.
T.G. Harkrider, Environmental Health Director at the Jackson County Health Department stated that "anyone having knowledge of bites or other exposure from a suspected rabid animal to humans or to domestic animals should immediately contact the Health Department at 482-9227 during normal working hours".
The Jackson County Health Department has an answering service to relay information for assistance after hours and on weekends concerning animal bites and other exposure. This answering service can be reached by calling 526-2412. "Please call us with information and questions related to exposure" Harkrider stated emphatically. "We need to act quickly in some cases to save people's lives. Never shoot a biting animal in the head" he added. "An intact brain is needed to determine if the animal is rabid. If you shoot them in the head and destroy the brain, we have to assume the animal was rabid. Without negative lab results, treatment to the victim has to begin. Please call us! You can reach us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week through our answering service at 526-2412".
Residents are also reminded that Jackson County and the State of Florida have laws requiring vaccination of all dogs and cats. PLEASE HAVE YOUR PET(S) VACCINATED.
Information provided by the Jackson County Health Department