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Health Officials Issue Rabies Alert

Article Courtesy of: Washington County, Florida Department of Health

Immediate Release

July 26, 2021

Amanda Baker 850-845-5101

HEALTH OFFICIALS ISSUE RABIES ALERT

Chipley, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Washington County issued a rabies alert for the area of Central Washington County. This is in response to a cat that tested positive on July 23, 2021.

All residents and visitors in Washington County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Washington County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is Bonnett Pond Road, and includes the following boundaries in Washington County:

  • East of Hwy 277
  • West of Hwy 77
  • North of Pioneer Road
  • South of Clayton Road

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, 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.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Washington County Animal Control at 850-638-6306.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • 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 Florida Department of Health in Washington County at 850-638-6240.

For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Washington County at 850-638-6240.

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida

through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida

Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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