The Florida Department of Health in Franklin County has issued a rabies alert for Eastpoint in response to a raccoon that tested positive on Wedneday, Aug. 21.

A family pet was exposed to the raccoon on CC Land Road, in the area between Whispering Pines and Tomahawk Circle.

The test results follows on the heels of a rabies alert for Eastpoint that was issued in response to a fox that tested positive on Tuesday, Aug. 13. An individual was bitten by the fox in the triangular area of Island Drive, Patton Drive, and US 98. 

In addition, on Friday, Aug. 16,  a raccoon tested positive, which was believed to have exposed an individual with the square area encompassing southward of Old Ferry Dock Road, east of Island Drive and north of Patton Drive.

The health department is working closely with local partners to host a rabies vaccination clinic in the future. Please take extra caution while outdoors and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

All residents of Franklin 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 Franklin 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. The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. 

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 contact County Animal Services at 850-670-4733.

• Call your local animal control agency 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 and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health Franklin County at 653-2111. 

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Franklin County, please visithttp://franklin.floridahealth.gov/index.html.