MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A rabies alert has been issued countywide in Santa Rosa County after a cat tested positive for rabies over the weekend, according to a report from the Florida Department of Health.
The alert, which will stay in effect for the next 60 days, means the public should be at a heightened awareness to rabies. According to health officials, an animal with rabies may appear sick or lethargic, having problems swallowing, or drool or salivate excessively.
Health officials say they designed the alerts to increase public awareness, for the county involved and surrounding areas.
All domestic animals should be vaccinated for rabies, but the public should contact wildlife officials if you contact any of the following animals: raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
The Florida Department of Health issued the following guidelines for any residents and visitors to Santa Rosa County:
- Vaccinate pets against rabies and keep vaccinations up to date.
- Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If a pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Santa Rosa County Animal Services at 850-983-4680.
- Call animal control services to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Bring in pet food at night and secure trash cans with fasteners, or place trash containers in the garage, so they do not attract wild or stray animals.
- 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 Santa Rosa County at 850-983-5200.