The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) urges residents to avoid contact with wild and stray animals to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure.
Each year, Escambia County receives reports of rabid animals. In 2022, one rabid bat was reported in Escambia County, Florida. Most recently, one rabid bat with exposure to one person and one rabid fox with exposure to 3 people were reported in May of 2023.
The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County (DOH-Manatee) has issued a rabies alert for the Palm View area of Palmetto. This is in response to a cat that tested positive on May 17, 2023.
All residents and visitors in Manatee County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and that domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Manatee County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public. Please be aware that rabies activities can also occur outside the alert area.
This rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is the Palm View area of Palmetto and includes the following boundaries in Manatee County:
- North: 61st Street East / Palm View Road
- South: 49th Street East / Experimental Farm Road
- West: 28th Avenue East / Jackson Road
- East: CR 683 / Ellenton Gillette Road
In Florida, raccoons, bats and foxes, and unvaccinated cats are the animals most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Other animals that are at high risk for rabies include skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats, and stray or unvaccinated dogs and ferrets.
Rabies is transmitted through exposure to the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch, or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.
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.
Through April 30 this year, the Florida Department of Health has reported 22 animal rabies cases, with raccoons accounting for half.