Rabid raccoon found near park
The following has been provided as a public service announcement by the Florida Department of Health Bay County.
A raccoon captured in the neighborhood between Frank Brown Park and Highway 79 in the City of Panama City Beach has tested positive for rabies. On Friday, a second raccoon attacked a dog in The Glades neighborhood of Panama City Beach. The Glades’ raccoon is suspected to have been rabid, but escaped and could not be located for testing.
There have been five laboratory-confirmed rabid animals in Bay County in 2018. Two weeks ago, a rabid raccoon killed a dog in the Cemetery Road area of Bayou George. In June, a rabid fox was killed while attacking a person in the Burnt Mill Creek area off Hwy 388. A raccoon captured off Cabana Blvd. on Panama City Beach tested positive for rabies in May and a raccoon captured in the Cove area of Panama City tested positive for rabies in February.
Rabies is a fatal viral infection of the nervous system that is transmitted from animal to animal and animal to human by bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to infected saliva. The Florida Department of Health in Bay County would like to remind citizens to avoid contact with wild animals and stray domestic animals. Among wildlife in Florida, raccoons, bats, and foxes are the animals most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Never touch a bat! Educate your children to this danger.
Florida Law requires all dogs and cats over four months of age to be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Dogs and cats are at risk for rabies should they fight with an infected animal or chew up a bat. Unvaccinated animals should not be outside unsupervised. A rabid dog or cat can infect a human as easily as a rabid wild animal can. Cats are the domestic animal most frequently diagnosed with rabies in Florida. Feeding cats outdoors attracts raccoons. Free-roaming cats attract coyotes to urban areas. Keep cats safe by keeping them indoors. Placing or offering food or garbage in such a manner that it attracts raccoons is illegal in Florida.
If bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Seek medical treatment as needed and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at (850) 872-4455. If the animal is stray or wild, call 911 or Bay County Animal Services at (850) 767-3333 and report the animal’s location. Follow up. Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.