MILTON — A rabies alert is currently in effect for the Navarre area after a report of possible rabies in a kitten, according to the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County.
The kitten died after developing neurologic symptoms; however, rabies could not be confirmed because the brain was not suitable for testing. As a precaution, three Navarre residents who were exposed to the kitten are receiving post-exposure rabies vaccine.
The rabies alert will be in effect until Aug. 5.
An animal with rabies may appear sick or lethargic, have problems swallowing, or drool or salivate excessively. A wild animal may appear tamer than usual and some animals may have no visible symptoms.
An animal with rabies could infect other wild 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.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
Vaccinate pets against rabies and keep vaccinations up to date.
Keep pets under direct supervision so they are not exposed to wild animals. If a wild animal bites a pet, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Santa Rosa County Animal Services at 983-4680.
Call animal control services to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
Bring in pet food at night and secure trashcans with fasteners, or place trash containers in the garage, so they do not attract wild or stray animals.
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 encounter people and pets.
Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County at 983-5200.