The Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion) has issued a rabies alert after three raccoons have tested positive for rabies. Marion County residents who live or work in the following areas are strongly advised to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active near them.
Those areas include:
- In Silver Springs, north of County Road 314, south of Gores Landing, east of Northeast 147th Avenue Road, and west of CR 314A.
- In the Fellowship area, north of CR 328, south of CR 464B, east of Northwest 150th Avenue, and west of Northwest 110th Avenue.
- In the Blitchton area, north of State Road 326, south of Northwest 110th Street, east of U.S. 27, and west of CR 225.
An animal with rabies could infect other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination. Domestic animals are at risk if they are not vaccinated; rabies is always a danger in wild animal populations.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, seek medical attention and report the injury to DOH-Marion by calling 352-629-0137.
If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek immediate veterinary assistance for the animal, and contact Marion County Animal Services at 352-671-8727.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to humans and warm-blooded animals. 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 to prevent exposure to rabies:
- Avoid all contact with wildlife, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Never handle unfamiliar animals (wild or domestic), even if they appear friendly.
- Do not feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or trash.
- Keep rabies vaccinations current for all pets.
- Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might encounter people and pets.