Health officials lift rabies alert

Holmes County—The Florida Department of Health in Holmes County is lifting the rabies alert for the extreme northwest portion of Holmes County and the area of Griffen Drive and Decon Road on the southwest side of Bonifay.  The alert has been in place since April 23, 2018 when two raccoons tested positive for rabies.

There has not been another positive laboratory result for rabies within 60 days. This is an appropriate timeframe to lift the health advisory. However, in Florida there is a risk of rabies transmission year round.

The following are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones against rabies:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
  • Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.  If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Holmes County Animal Control at 850-547-1119 or the Florida Department of Health in Holmes County at 850-547-8500.
  • Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter.
  • 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 DOH in Holmes County at 850-547-8500.

For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html, or contact DOH-Holmes County at 850-547-8500.