MOUNT DORA, Fla. -

A rabies alert was issued Friday by the Florida Department of Health in Lake County for the Mount Dora area.

Officials said the alert was issued in response to a fox that tested positive for rabies Friday.

[CHECK: Rabies Fact Sheet | Affected area map]

"All residents and visitors in Lake County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated," officials said in a statement. "The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Lake 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 rabies alert is active for 60 days. Authorities said the center of the rabies alert is in the Mount Dora Area and includes the following area boundaries in Lake County:

North boundary - Highway 441
South boundary - Lakeshore Drive
East boundary - Greenway Drive
West boundary - David Walker Drive

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. Authorities said 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. Officials said 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.
  • Vaccinations must be conducted by a licensed Veterinarian.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Lake County Animal Services at 352-343-9688.
  • 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 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.

Anyone 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 in Lake County at 352-253-6130.

For further information on rabies visit the Florida Department of Health website, or contact the Florida Department of Health in Lake County at 352-253-6130 or Lake County Animal Services at 352-343-9688.