ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

A rabies alert has been issued in St. Johns County after a raccoon tested positive for the disease Wednesday.

Health officials said residents should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.

The rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is located at the 2400 block of U.S. 1 South, and includes the following area boundaries in St. Johns County:

  • North to State Road 312
  • South to Gerona Road
  • East to the Intracoastal Waterway
  • West to Dobbs Road

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. 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.

Health officials give the following advice:

  • All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
  • Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
  • Do not leave pet food outside. That also attracts other animals.
  • For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
  • Veterinarian staff and animal control staff should be alert for animals encountered with signs suspicious for rabies and use appropriate precautions, especially when working with unvaccinated animals.
  • Those 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 St. Johns County at 904-825-5055, ext. 1084.
  • Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
  • Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, and foxes.
  • No animal is too young to have rabies.

For general questions about animals or to report a suspicious or aggressive animal, contact St. Johns County Animal Control at 904-209-0746. For further information about rabies, please visit the Florida Department of Health website.