Rabies Alert for Gulf County

WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – The Florida Department of Health in Gulf County has issued a rabies alert for Gulf County in response to a fox that tested positive on June 22, according to a Press release.

The Department of Health reports that a person was attacked by a fox near Highway 71 and Church Avenue in Wewahitchka. Rabies alert is 60 days.

The Florida Department of Health advises residents to be extra careful when outdoors and to be aware of their surroundings at all times. All Gulf County residents and visitors should be aware that rabies is present in the wildlife population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. Officials say the alerts are designed to increase public awareness, but should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been designated as the subject of an alert.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All pets should be vaccinated against rabies and contact with wildlife should be avoided, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Rabies is a fatal nervous system disease in warm-blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is specific rabies immunoglobulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after exposure will protect an exposed person from disease.

Here are some tips from the Florida Department of Health

– Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.

• If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact County Animal Services at 850-227-1115.

• Call your local animal control agency to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood.

• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wildlife by leaving pet food outdoors or open garbage cans.

• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.

• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.

• Prevent bats from entering dwellings or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar places, where they may come into 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 Gulf County at 850-227-1276.

For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Gulf County, please visit gulf.floridahealth.gov

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Jennifer R. Strohm