Health officials in Lafayette County issued a rabies alert on Monday.
This is Lafayette’s first reported case since 2009, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Still, it seems alerts are constantly appearing throughout other Florida counties. There have been 61 cases reported statewide in 2013.
Marion County is under a rabies alert through September, its 217th case since 1997, though only the fourth of 2013.
The DOH keeps records of rabies cases by county as far back as 1997. The data actually show the number of rabies cases has steadily decreased in almost every county during that period.
The years 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005 contained the most rabies cases with 1,082 total, while only 410 cases appeared in the past four years.
The counties with the most cases of rabies between 1997 and July 2013 are: Marion at 216, Polk at 184, Palm Beach at 165, Alachua at 164 and Orange at 149.
The counties with the least are Wakulla, DeSoto, Libery, Glades and Gadsden with only eight total cases.
To prevent rabies infection, the DOH recommends residents:
Avoid direct human and domestic animal contact with wild animals.
Have your veterinarian vaccinate pets and at-risk livestock, make sure you follow your veterinarian’s instructions for revaccination.
Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.
Never feed wild or stray animals-avoid attracting them with outdoors food sources (like uncooked trash). Feed your pets indoors.
If your animal is attacked by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal, DO NOT examine your pet for injuries without wearing gloves. DO wash your pet with soap and water to remove saliva from the attacking animal. DO NOT let your animal come into contact with other animals or people until the situation can be handled by animal control or county health department staff.
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