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Rabies alert extended in Polk County after another raccoon tests positive, health official say

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 18, 2019

BARTOW, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Polk County is extending a rabies alert, which was originally issued on November 18, after another raccoon tested positive for rabies.

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Initially, DOH Polk issued a 60-day rabies alert for the following Bartow and Loughman areas after several raccoons tested positive for rabies:

Bartow area boundaries:

  • North boundary Georgia Street
  • South boundary Mann Road
  • East boundary U.S. 17
  • West boundary Mary Holland Park Road

Loughman area boundaries:

  • North boundary Kinney Harmon Road
  • South and East boundary Providence Golf Club
  • West boundary U.S. 17

Health officials said they are now adding 60 more days to the alert because another rabid raccoon was found in the Lakeland Highlands area.

The extension now includes boundaries for the following:

  • North boundary - County Road 540A
  • South boundary - Polk Parkway
  • East boundary - US Highway 98
  • West boundary - State Road 37

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Residents and visitors should 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. If your pet or livestock is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control at (863) 499-2600
  • 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

If you think you or your pet has had an "exposure," please contact the PCSO Animal Control Section at 863.577.1762.