Florida Department of Health - St. Johns County
For further information on Rabies in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health — Rabies website.
The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County (DOH — St. Johns) works in cooperation with St. Johns County Animal Control to evaluate cases of animal bites for the purpose of ruling out rabies concern to the individual and community.
Rabies virus can cause a nearly 100% fatal illness in humans and other mammals. The virus is present in some wildlife in Florida and can spread to unvaccinated pets, which then pose a high risk to the pet owner and their family. The main wildlife sources of rabies in Florida are raccoons and bats. Infected raccoons and bats can expose people, pets, livestock and other wildlife to rabies, typically through bites. Outside cats are by far the most common domestic animal found to have rabies in the state of Florida, largely because they are often not kept up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Dogs, cats and ferrets are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies in the state of Florida.
Some actions people and their families can take to prevent from being exposed to rabies include avoiding direct contact with wildlife, not feeding wildlife, consulting with a veterinarian to ensure pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations, and supervising pets and young children while outside. If you believe you may have been exposed to rabies, contact your health care provider and your county health department right away. If an exposure occurred, there is effective treatment that can prevent infections in people if administered in a timely manner.
- Avoid direct human and domestic animal contact with wild animals.
- Have your veterinarian (vet) vaccinate pets and at-risk livestock, make sure you follow your vet's instructions for revaccination.
- Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.
- Never feed wild or stray animals, avoid attracting them with outdoors food sources. Feed your pets indoors.
- If your animal is attacked by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal, DO NOT examine your pet for injuries without wearing gloves. DO wash your pet with soap and water to remove saliva from the attacking animal. DO NOT let your animal come into contact with other animals or people until the situation can be handled by animal control or county health department staff.
- Educate the public to reduce contact with stray and feral animals.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
- Provide pre-exposure prophylaxis for people in high-risk professions, such as animal control and veterinary personnel, laboratory workers, and those working with wildlife.
- Bat-proof homes
Rabies Fact Sheets
Rabies Educational Materials
Color Brochures / Posters:
Rabies in Bats
For further information, visit the Florida Department of Health — Rabies to learn about:
- Animal Contact and Human Health
- Dog Bite Prevention
- Rabies Surveillance Data
- Information for Rabies Professionals
- National B Virus Resource Center
If you have any rabies questions or concerns, contact DOH-St. Johns County Health Department’s service center for Disease Control & Health Protection.
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