MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A raccoon recently tested positive for rabies in Marion County, causing the Florida Department of Health to issue an alert to nearby neighbors.
The Florida Department of Health in Marion County said residents in Summerfield, Oxford and the northwest part of The Villages should "maintain a heightened awareness" that rabies is active in the area.
Officials said an animal with rabies can infect other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination, which includes pets.
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If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, officials urge you to seek medical attention and report the injury to your county health department.
If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, the Florida Department of Health recommends seeking immediate veterinary assistance for the animal and contacting your county's Animal Services department.
The department said the specific area impacted includes north of Sumter County Road 202, south of Southeast Highway 42 in Marion County, west of Southeast 76th Champion Ave. in The Villages, and east of Sumter County Road 200.
The Florida Department of Health asked residents to take the following precautions:
- Avoid all contact with wildlife, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Never handle unfamiliar animals (wild or domestic), even if they appear friendly.
- Do not feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or trash.
- Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all pets.
- Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might encounter people and pets.
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