Bay County – A raccoon killed near the south end of the Bailey Bridge in the City of Lynn Haven has tested positive for rabies. This is the sixth Bay County animal testing positive for rabies in 2013. Other animals testing positive for rabies in 2013 include four raccoons and one domestic cat.
The Florida Department of Health in Bay County would like to remind citizens that raccoons and bats are the Florida animals most frequently testing positive for rabies. Raccoons can secrete the rabies virus in their saliva before they have noticeable symptoms. All contact with raccoons and bats should be avoided. As well, it is illegal to feed raccoons, either directly or indirectly. Feeding raccoons artificially increases their population and increases the likelihood diseases like rabies will spread and conflicts with dogs or cats will occur.
Florida law requires all dogs and cats over four months of age be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Most laboratory confirmed rabid raccoons are involved in conflicts with dogs. Following raccoons and bats, domestic cats are the animal third most likely to test positive for rabies in Florida. An unvaccinated pet increases your family’s risk for exposure to this deadly disease. Dogs and cats without a current rabies vaccination should not be left outside unsupervised.