Health officials: St. Johns County resident came in contact with rabid bat

Residents urged to avoid contact with stray animals, wildlife

Stock photo
Stock photo

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – There's a health alert in St. Johns County, where there's been a confirmed case of rabies exposure.

According to the Florida Department of Health, a St. Johns County resident came into contact with a rabid bat and was treated with lifesaving post-exposure treatment and vaccinations. 

The Department of Health in St. Johns County and St. Johns County's Division of Animal Control on Friday warned residents to stay away from stray animals and wildlife.

The vast majority of rabies cases each year occur in animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and feral cats. 

Health officials offered the following steps to protect yourself and your pets against rabies

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and livestock.
  • Follow local leash laws. Do not allow your pets to run free. 
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter.
  • Teach children to never 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 encounter people and pets.
  • If persons are bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals, seek medical attention and report the injury to the St. Johns County Health Department at 904-209-3250.
  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact St. Johns County’s Division of Animal Control at 904-209-0746.

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