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December 01, 2022

Panama City, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) urges residents to avoid contact with wild and stray animals to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure. This follows a confirmed case of rabies in a raccoon that was killed in the area of Star Avenue and Yellow Bluff Road in Callaway. 

In Florida, raccoons, bats and foxes, and unvaccinated cats are the animals most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Other animals that are at high risk for rabies include skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats, and stray or unvaccinated dogs and ferrets. 

Rabies is transmitted through exposure to the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch, or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth. DOH-Bay works with Bay County Animal Services and Lynn Haven Animal Control in responding to incidents of animal bites, tests animals for rabies through the Department of Health state laboratory, and quarantines animals as necessary. DOH-Bay also provides rabies vaccinations to victims of animal bites, the only known effective treatment for rabies prevention in humans. 

The following are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones against rabies: 

  • 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. If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Bay County Animal Services at 767-3333 or in Lynn Haven, Lynn Haven Police at (850) 265-2112.Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
  • Spay 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 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 come in contact with 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 DOH-Bay at (850) 872-4455. 

For further information on Rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website at or contact DOH-Bay at 850-872-4455 or follow us on Twitter @FLHealthEmerald. 


About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla or @FLHealthEmerald and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


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