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Rabies Alert

By Arlease Hall

June 03, 2015

Rabies Alert 

(St. Lucie County, FL) – The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County has issued a rabies alert for the central geographical region of St. Lucie County. This is in response to a cat that tested positive for rabies reported on June 2nd.

Health officials urge residents to avoid contact with wild and stray animals to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure. “Rabies is a potentially fatal disease. It is important not to handle wild animals, to be aware of unusual acting animals, and to keep pets vaccinated against rabies,” said Clint Sperber, County Health Officer.

All residents of St. Lucie 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 St. Lucie 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.

This rabies alert will remain in effect for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Boston Avenue and South 30th Street with the following boundaries in St. Lucie County:

  • South of Orange Avenue
  • North of Delaware Avenue
  • East of 33rd Street
  • West of 25th Street

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:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and dial 911 to provide information about the bite.
  • Call your local animal control agency directly (see numbers below) to remove any stray animals
    from your neighborhood.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving pet food outside, or garbage cans open.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your 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, complete a bite report and notify the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County's Epidemiology program at (772) 462-3883.

Animal Control Agency Numbers:
City of Fort Pierce Animal Control: (772) 467-3148
City of Port Saint Lucie Animal Control: (772) 871-5042
Saint Lucie County Animal Control: (772) 462-8120

For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website:
http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or contact Florida Department
of Health in St. Lucie County (772) 462-3800.
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