Advisory Issued For Melbourne Florida After Raccoon Tests Positive For Rabies
Florida Department of Health Warning On Rabid Raccoon In Melbourne, FL
A raccoon found in Brevard County (Melbourne Florida) tested positive for rabies earlier this month, state health officials said. The masked creature was the fourth animal detected with rabies in Brevard County this year, the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County said Thursday. July’s positive test prompted an alert for residents to take precaution. Rabies is transmitted through exposure to the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch, or other contact with fluid from its eyes, nose, or mouth. The disease can be fatal, health officials said. Two other raccoons and one bat were the animals that tested positive, health officials said. Skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats, and stray or unvaccinated dogs and ferrets are also at high risk for contracting rabies, officials said.
The recommendations for avoiding rabies include:
- keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock
- do not allow your pets to run free
- do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter
- teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly Source
Rabies Information, Prevention and Treatment
Some mammal species including bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes, can carry rabies. The most common mode of rabies viral transmission is through the bite of an infected animal. What you can do to help prevent the spread of rabies (from the Center for Disease Control)
Be a responsible pet owner:
- Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. This requirement is important not only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection to you, if your animal is bitten by a rabid wild animal.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
- Call your local Melbourne animal control office to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:
- Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc.) from afar. 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. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
- 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.
What to do after a possible exposure (from the Center for Disease Control)
If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately. A health care provider will care for the wound and will assess the risk for rabies exposure. The following information will help your health care provider assess your risk:
- the geographic location of the incident
- the type of animal that was involved
- how the exposure occurred (provoked or unprovoked)
- the vaccination status of animal
- whether the animal can be safely captured and tested for rabies
Steps taken by the health care practitioner will depend on the circumstances of the bite. Your health care practitioner should consult state or local health departments, veterinarians, or animal control officers to make an informed assessment of the incident and to request assistance. The important factor is that you seek care promptly after you are bitten by any animal. https://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/health/other-wildlife/rabies/
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