ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A rabies alert was issued Thursday after there was a laboratory-confirmed case of rabies associated with a feral cat, according to the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County.
This rabies alert was issued for 60 days for an area of northwest St. Johns County within ZIP code 32092. The alert is centered at Back Creek and Riverstone drives and extends outward to the following roadways:
- To the west: C. H. Arnold Road
- To the north: Oak Grove Avenue
- To the east: Pacetti Road
- To the south: County Road 208
Health officials warned rabies could be present outside the alert area, as well.
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 reminded the public that all domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
- If bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, seek immediate medical attention and report the injury to Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County at 904-209-3250.
- Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
- Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, then seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact St. Johns County’s Animal Control Department at 904-209-6190.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash 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 encounter people and pets.
Additional information on rabies is available on the Florida Department of Health website.