Wildlife warning: Bobcat tests positive for rabies

Silver Springs residents warned to stay on alert

Bobcats are named for their trademark tail, which appears to be cut or "bobbed." (Getty Images)

OCALA, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Marion County issued a warning for residents in the Silver Springs area because of a rabid bobcat. 

An animal with rabies could infect humans or other animals that have not received a rabies vaccination.

Health officials want Silver Springs residents to maintain a heightened level of awareness in the four neighborhoods listed below; however, officials said other areas should keep an eye out as well.

  • North of East State Road 40
  • South of Northeast 59th Place
  • West of Northeast 145th Avenue Road
  • East of Northeast 114th Terrace 

What is rabies? 

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system, which is fatal to all mammals, including humans.

The only treatment for human exposure to a scratch of bite from a rabid animal is rabies-specific immune globulin and a vaccination as soon as possible after exposure. 

Individuals should report injuries to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County at 352-644-2713. 

How can I protect myself and my pet?

Residents and visitors can take precautions to prevent exposure to rabies by avoiding all contact with wildlife.

Health officials also advise avoiding unfamiliar animals, feeding wildlife and keeping pets under direct supervision with up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

If your pet is bitten by any wild animal, seek immediate veterinary assistance and contact Marion County Animal Services at 352-671-8727.