Clay County Health Department Issues Rabies Alert | Environment

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Clay County Health Department Issues Rabies Alert
Environment, Health

The Clay County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for the Middleburg 32068 zip code, south of County Road 218 to State Road 16. This is in response to a raccoon that recently tested positive for rabies.  There is an exposure to a pet and no human exposure from this raccoon. Rabies among wild animals in this area continues to be a concern as this is the second rabies alert issued for this area of Clay County in 2010. The previous alert was issued in February.

Residents and visitors in Clay 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 Clay County.  Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public. This alert should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under this alert.

· This recent rabies alert is for 60 days.  

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals 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.

The following advice is issued:
· All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
· Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
· Do not leave pet food outside.  This also attracts other animals.
· For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
· Veterinarian staff and animal control staff should be alert for animals encountered with signs suspicious for rabies and use appropriate precautions, especially when working with unvaccinated animals.            
· Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Clay County Animal Control at 904-269-6342
· Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
· Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, and foxes.
· No animal is too young to have rabies.
· For general questions pertaining to animals, contact the Clay County Animal Control.

For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website or contact Clay County Health Department (904)529-2801 ext. 2834

Environment, Health

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