Rabid raccoon: Alert issued in parts of Marion County, including The Villages

Residents urged to take precaution

Raccoon file photo.
Raccoon file photo.

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A rabid raccoon was found near Marion and Sumter counties, prompting the Florida Department of Health to issue a rabies alert in the area.

The alert includes Summerfield, Oxford and the northwest portion of The Villages. People who live or frequent the area north of Sumter County Road 202, south of Southeast Highway 42 in Marion County, west of Southeast 76th Champion Avenue in The Villages and east of Sumter County Road 200 should be aware that rabies is active.

Anyone in the area should be aware that rabies could be present in local wildlife and domestic pets could be at risk if they go outdoors and aren't vaccinated. All wildlife should be avoided, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Below is a list, provided by FDOH, of precautions that should be taken to avoid rabies.

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • 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.
  • 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.

For more information about rabies, click here.

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