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UPDATE: Third fox tests positive for rabies

A third fox has tested positive for rabies within the past week, underscoring the importance of the rabies alert that the Florida Department of Heath in Franklin County has issued for the next 60 days.

No individuals were harmed or in direct contact with this
most recent fox, which tested positive on Wednesday, and is the second fox
found on, or around, Bay City Road in Apalachicola.

On Tuesday morning, May 4, a fox, later confirmed to have
rabies, attacked an individual working outside at a residence on Bluff Rd in

In addition, a woman and her dog were bitten by a fox on
Woodill Road in Carrabelle, on the morning of Wednesday, May 5, and that fox
too later tested positive for rabies.

“We are asking all residents and visitors to please take
extra caution while outdoors and be aware of your surroundings at all times,”
said DT Simmons, a spokeswoman for the department, in a press release.

She said all those involved in the investigation are
receiving appropriate medical treatment.

The release urged all residents and visitors in the county
to be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic
animals are at risk if not vaccinated.

“Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public,
but they should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been
named as under an alert,” Simmons said.

The release said 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 with raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters,
bobcats and coyotes.

The only treatment for human exposure to rabies, a disease
of the nervous system that is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans, is
rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment
started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

The health department advises that pet owners should keep
rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets. If a pet is bitten by a wild
animal, seek veterinary assistance immediately and contact county animal
services at 850-670-4733.

Animal control should be called to remove any stray animals
from your neighborhood. People are strongly encouraged not to handle, feed, or
unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving pet food outside, or garbage
cans open.

“Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home,”
said Simmons. “Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or
domestic, even if they appear friendly.”

The releases also advises that property owners should
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
county health department at 850-653-2111. 

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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