Rabid raccoon prompts rabies alert for parts of Brevard County: DOH

YUNNAN WILD ANIMAL PARK, KUNMING, YUNNAN PROVINCE, CHINA - 2015/11/29: A fat raccoon stands at the door of its wooden house. The raccoon is a highly intelligent carnivore. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A rabies alert has been issued after the Health Department said a raccoon tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. 

The Florida Health Department issued the alert Thursday for the 32927 area of Cocoa. The center of the alert is at Everglades Street and includes the following boundaries in Brevard County: Kings Highway to the north, US 1 to the east, Grissom Parkway to the west, and Fay Blvd to the south. 

The rabies alert is in effect for 60 days and residents are being asked to maintain "heightened awareness" of the virus in the county. Health Department officials said rabies activities can happen outside of the alert area. 

Residents and visitors are being urged to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
  • Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations. 
  • Spray or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated. 
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter. 
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. 
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, 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. 
  • Persons or pets that have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Animal Services at 321-633-2024. 

Rabies is a nervous system disease and is fatal to warm-blooded animals, according to the Florida DOH.