CHIPLEY – The Florida Department of Health in Washington County issued a rabies alert for the area of Central Washington County in response to a cat that tested positive on July 23, 2021.  

FDOH wants all residents and visitors in Washington County to be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and that
domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to
maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Washington
County. Alerts are designed to increase
public awareness. FDOH warns against a false sense of security because an area may not yet be listed as under alert.

The rabies alert is in effect for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is located on Bonnett Pond Road, and includes the following boundaries in Washington County:  

· East of Highway 277  

· West of Highway 77  

· North of Pioneer Road  

· South of Clayton Road  

According to FDOH, an
animal with rabies could infect other wild 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.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:  

· Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.  

· Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with
wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary
assistance for the animal immediately and contact Washington County
Animal Control at 850-638-6306.

· Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.  

· Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans 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
come in contact with people and pets.