A feral cat has tested positive to rabies in the Doctors Lake area of Orange Park, prompting the Florida Department of Health in Clay County to issue a rabies advisory.
The cat tested positive on Wednesday. Public health officials say all residents and visitors in the area should be aware that rabies is present in the wild, which also puts domestic animals at risk if they have not been vaccinated.
The specific area of the advisory includes these boundaries:
- North of Doctors Lake
- West of the St. Johns River
- East of Blanding Blvd.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is usually fatal to warm blooded animals and humans that have not been immunized or treated.
The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization.
The Florida Department of Health in Clay County is asking residents to take the following precautions:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
- Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If a pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Clay County Services at 904-269-6342.
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into a 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 where they might come in contact with people and pets.
The Florida Department of Health in Clay County is advising anyone bitten or scratched in the area by wild or domestic animals to seek medical attention and report the injury at 904-529-2800, option 5, then option 1.
Additional information about the rabies virus is available at this Florida Department of Health webpage.