ADPH: Bat in Escambia County confirmed positive for rabies; precautions advised

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Special to the Advance

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) confirmed today that a bat found in the Flomaton area of Escambia County has tested positive for rabies. There have been two positive rabies cases within the past month in the northern areas of Escambia County, Fla., near the Alabama-Florida state line.
This incident involved human exposure. The bat was taken to the state Bureau of Clinical Laboratories in Mobile where rabies was confirmed.
According to Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health Veterinarian, “This should be a stern reminder that all pets should be properly vaccinated against rabies, given the circumstances of rabid animals now in the same general area.” He adds, “It is not unusual to see clusters of rabies cases in wild animals and strays during this time of year.”
It is very common for domestic animals and pets to have contact with a wild rabid animal. Alabama state law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older be current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should exposure occur; thus, vaccinations protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.
Rabies prevention is multifaceted. It involves people taking precautions with wildlife, making sure that their pets are current on rabies vaccinations, and always reporting an animal bite or other exposures to their medical provider and ADPH. In addition to vaccination, area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposures to rabies:
·        Do not allow pets to run loose, confine within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
·        Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
·        Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
·        Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
·        Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.
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