JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County on Monday reminded everyone to avoid contact with stray animals after someone was exposed to a rabid bat.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, residents were asked to avoid contact with game and stray animals to better protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure. The Jacksonville resident who was exposed to the virus had to be treated and vaccinated after exposure.
The Department of Health pointed out that rabies virus can cause death in humans and other mammals. The virus infects the central nervous system and ultimately causes brain diseases that lead to death if not treated quickly.
"It's not something to play around with, it's no joke, you need to see a doctor right away," Dr. Susan Shelton from St. Francis Animal Hospital. "Often, you may have heard of things that are afraid of water, and they foam in your mouth." In general, what you will see is just an animal that is inappropriate, neurologically or mentally inappropriate ̵
According to the Department of Health, the majority of rabies cases occur in animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and wildcats. Measures that people can take to protect themselves and animals include:
- Keep rabies vaccines up-to-date for all pets and endangered farm animals.
- Do not let pets run free.
- Teach children not to handle unknown, wild or domestic animals, even if they appear friendly.
HELPFUL LINK: Frequently Asked Questions about Rabies
In the case of animal bites or scratches, the Ministry of Health advises people to see a doctor and report the injury by calling (904) 253-2567.
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