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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Rabies Alert issued for parts of Marion County

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion) has issued a rabies alert after three raccoons tested positive for the disease.

Marion County residents who live or work in the following areas are strongly advised to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active nearby:

  • In Silver Springs, north of County Road 314, south of Gores Landing, east of NE 147th Avenue Road, and west of County Road 314A.
  • In the Fellowship area, north of County Road 328, south of County Road 464B, east of NW 150th Avenue, and west of NW 110th Avenue.
  • In the Blitchton area, north of State Road 326, south of NW 110th Street, east of U.S. 27, and west of County Road 225.

An animal with rabies could infect other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination. Rabies is always a danger in wild animal populations, and domestic animals are at risk if they are not vaccinated.

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. To protect an exposed person from the disease, appropriate treatment should be started soon after exposure.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, seek medical attention and report the injury to DOH-Marion by calling 352-629-0137.

In the event that your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek immediate veterinary assistance for the animal, and contact Marion County Animal Services at 352-671-8727.

Residents and visitors in Marion County are advised to take the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies:

  • Avoid all contact with wildlife, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Never handle unfamiliar animals (wild or domestic), even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or trash.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations current for all pets.
  • Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might encounter people and pets.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health’s “Rabies” webpage.