by: Gretchen Smith, Florida Department of Health-Flagler Communications Manager & Public Information Officer
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County is issuing a rabies alert for Bunnell and the Korona community. This is in response to a raccoon that tested positive on February 9 after attacking a dog. The dog was up to date on its shots and is OK; the raccoon is dead.
All residents and visitors in Flagler County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in parts of southern Flagler County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert. The last rabies alert the Flagler Health Department issued was in February 2010.
The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the alert is near Old Cemetery Road in Korona, an unincorporated community north northeast of Favoretta on U.S. 1 and south of Bunnell.
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 encounter wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Flagler Animal Services at 386-246-8612.
- 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. This includes playgrounds in parks and at schools where rabid animals may approach children.
- 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.
- Persons 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 Flagler County at 386-313-7101.
For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Flagler County at 386-437-7358, or 386-246-8612.