Health Officials Issue Rabies Alert

This press release was published at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County issued a rabies alert for Northeast Gainesville in the Ironwood Golf Club area. This is in response to a stray cat that tested positive on Friday, May 14, 2021.

All residents and visitors in 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 in Alachua County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is 3400 N.E. 53rd Avenue and includes the following boundaries in Alachua County:

  • NE 15 Street, Gainesville
  • NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville
  • NE Waldo Road
  • NE 73 Avenue

An animal with rabies could infect other wild 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.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets. 
  • Keep pets under direct supervision, so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If a wild animal bites a pet, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Alachua County Animal Services, 352-264-6880. 
  • Call the 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 the 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 Alachua County at 352-334-7930. 

For further information on rabies, visit the Florida Department of Health’s Rabies website or call the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County at 352-334-7930 or Alachua County Animal Control at 352-264-6880. 

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