ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Bronson and Archer: The Levy County Health Department and Alachua County Health Department have issued a rabies alert for the Forest Park and University Oaks area which is located in Levy County and near the Alachua County border in Archer. This is in response to a domestic dog that tested positive for rabies on February 23, 2012. Any citizens in this area that have had contact with a light brown American Bulldog or any stray domestic or wild animal are urged to contact the Health Department.
All citizens in Levy County and Alachua 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 between Bronson and Archer areas north of SR 24 in Levy County and Alachua County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.
The rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is in the University Oaks area and includes the following area boundaries in Levy and Alachua County:
- North of SR 24
- East of SR 337 (NE 80th Ave)
- South of SW 119th Avenue (Alachua County)
- West of NE 130th Avenue
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. 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.
The following advice is issued:
- All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
- Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
- For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
- Veterinarian staff and animal control staff should be alert for animals encountered with signs suspicious for rabies and use appropriate precautions, especially when working with unvaccinated animals.
- Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the local County Health Department.
- Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
- Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, and foxes.
- No animal is too young to have rabies.
- For general questions pertaining to animals, contact the Levy County Animal Services at 352-486-5138 or the Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6880.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html, or contact Levy County Health Department, Environmental Health office at 352-486-5301, or the Alachua County Health Department, Environmental Health office at 352-334-7930.
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