Ocala, Florida—The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has issued a rabies alert for the downtown Ocala area of Marion County. This is in response to a cat that tested positive for rabies on April 16, 2014.
All Marion County residents and visitors 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 Marion County. Alerts are designed to increase public awareness, but they should not give residents a false sense of security if their area has not been named in the alert.
This rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is about three blocks southwest of the Ocala Downtown Square and includes the following area boundaries in Marion County:
- Northeast 11th Street to the north
- Southeast 19th Street to the south
- ·Southeast 14th Avenue to the east
- ·Southwest 19th Avenue to the west
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. Residents should keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. 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 Marion County Animal Services at 352-671-8727.
- 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.
- 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 Marion County at 352-629-0137
Share this information with anyone you know that has a pet in the Marion County area.