JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health in Duval County has issued a rabies alert for the Jacksonville Beach area effective until Aug. 11.
The alert applies to the following areas: North at Seagate Avenue at Penman Road, south at Osceola Avenue at Blue Heron Lane, east at Atlantic Ocean at Beach Boulevard, and west of Intercoastal Waterway at Beach Boulevard.
The alert was issued because a rabid cat was found in the area. The Department of Health said animals with rabies could infect other wild and domestic animals that have not been vaccinated.
Pet owners are encouraged to make sure that their pets are up-to-date with their rabies vaccination, as well as keep pets away from wild animals such as raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
Rabies affects the nervous system and can be fatal to animals and humans. If a human gets it, the only treatment for rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization, the Department of Health said.
The Department of Health has issued the following advice:
- "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 the Florida Department of Health in Duval County at (904) 253-1280.
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving pet food outside, or garbage cans open.
- 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 Duval County at (904) 253-1280."