The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has issued a rabies alert.
The warning is for the area of the county in the following boundaries:
- NW Hwy. 320 to the north
- W Hwy. 326 to the south
- Interstate 75 to the east
- County Road 335 to the west
The alert is in response to positive laboratory results for rabies from a bobcat and a raccoon. People who live or work within the rabies alert boundary should maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in the area.
Residents in the depicted area should avoid contact with free roaming domestic animals or any wild animals. They should not leave pet food outside and should secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals. They should also ensure animals have current rabies vaccinations.
An animal with rabies could infect other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination. Domestic animals are at risk if they are not vaccinated, while rabies is always a danger in wild animal populations.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to humans and warm-blooded animals. 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.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek immediate veterinary assistance for the animal and contact Marion County Animal Services.
For more information on rabies, visit www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies.