The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has announced that a raccoon in the Sparr/Anthony area tested positive for rabies after an interaction with a domestic animal on May 14.

According to the department, people who reside in that area should maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in the area, particularly those who live north of Northeast/Northwest 100th Street, south of County Road 316, east of U.S. 301 and west of County Road 200A.

Domestic animals are at risk if they are not vaccinated. An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not received a rabies vaccination. This notice is designed to give public awareness but should not give residents a false sense of security if their area has not been named, according to the news release.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to humans and warm-blooded animals. 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, the department notes.

Individuals 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 Marion County at 644‑2713. If a pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek immediate veterinary assistance and contact Marion County Animal Services at 671‑8727.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

- Avoid all contact with wildlife, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.

- Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

- Do not feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or trash.

- Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all pets.

- Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals.

- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and similar areas where they might encounter people and pets.

For more information, go to www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies or call 629‑0137 or 671‑8727.