A rabies alert has been issued for Baker County Wednesday after a cat tested positive for the disease, according to the Baker County Health Department.
Officials say the cat was found in the area of County Roads 23C and 23D north of Macclenny. Residents and visitors are asked to show caution when approaching wild animals in the area.
The alert will remain active for 60 days and covers the following areas in the county:
- Bob Burnsed Road to the West.
- St. Mary’s River to the North
- State Road 121 to the East
- Tim Rhoden Road to the South
"Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans," according to the Baker County Health Department. "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."
Use the following precautions to protect yourself and your pets from contracting the disease:
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Baker County Animal Control at 904-259-6786.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Outdoor feeding can attract animals such as feral cats, raccoons, and coyotes. 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.
- 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.
For more information, contact the Baker County Health Department at 904-653-5273.