The Walton County Health Department Administrator, Gail Allen, has issued a rabies alert for the Grayton Beach area of Walton County. This is in response to a fox that tested positive for rabies reported on May 23, 2011.
All citizens in Walton County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Walton 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 alert.
The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Grayton Beach and includes the following area boundaries in Walton County:
Gulf Trace to the West
Tranquil Way to the East
Gulf of Mexico to the South
Logan Lane to the North
An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. 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. 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:
All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
Veterinarian staff and animal control staff should be alert for animals encountered with sign suspicious for rabies and use appropriate precautions, especially when working with unvaccinated animals.
Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Walton County Health Department at 850-892-8021.