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

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Rabies Prevention Program

Environmental Health

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented. Though a small number of people have survived rabies, the disease is usually fatal. For that reason, if you have been bitten by an animal that is known to have rabies or you have been exposed to rabies, you should receive a series of shots to prevent the rabies virus from infecting you.

Rabies Information Brochure - English (1 MB PDF)

Rabies Information Brochure - Spanish (1 MB PDF)

All animal bites within Duval County should be reported to the Rabies Prevention Program for investigation and follow-up.

To report animal bites call DOH-Duval at 904-253-1280 or contact the City of Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services at 904-630-2489.

Raccoons and other wild animals often wander into residential areas looking for food and shelter. In some cases, they are considered nuisances because of the damage they can cause and the health risks they can instigate on people and pets. Most negative encounters with wildlife can be prevented by removing whatever is attracting the animals.

Florida has no nuisance wildlife removal program. If you want to have an animal removed from your property you must do so at your own expense. State rules regarding relocating animals and a list of registered wildlife trappers are available at

If you have questions about an animal’s behavior, you can contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 386-758-0525 and speak with a wildlife biologist.

To report sightings of sick or abandoned wild animals, please call the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida at 904-779-5569.

For more information about Rabies, visit the Florida Department of Health website at:

For tips how to prevent dog bites please go to:

What do rabid animals look like? 

Animals with rabies may show strange behavior - they can be aggressive, attacking for no apparent reason, or act very tame (especially wild animals). They may not be able to eat, drink or swallow. They may drool because they have difficulty swallowing. They may stagger or become paralyzed. Rabies will kill most animals.

What do I do if an animal bites me? 

Immediately scrub the wound with lots of soap and running water for five to ten minutes.

  • Try to get a complete description of the animal and determine where it is so that it can be picked up by animal control staff for quarantine or rabies testing.
  • Go to your family doctor or the nearest emergency room
  • Call your county health department or animal control agency with the animal's description and location. The animal will either be quarantined for ten days (if it is a dog, cat or ferret) or be tested for rabies.
  • If you kill the animal, be careful not to damage the head, and avoid further contact with the animal even when it is dead.

Protect yourself, your family, and your pets from rabies 

Have your veterinarian vaccinate all of your dogs, cats, ferrets and horses against rabies, and make sure you follow your veterinarian's instructions for re-vaccination.

  • Avoid contact with wild or stray animals
  • Never feed wild or stray animals - avoid attracting them with outdoor food sources (like uncovered trash) Feed your pets indoors.
  • Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.
  • Support animal control in your community.
  • If your animal is attacked by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal, DO NOT examine your pet for injuries without wearing gloves. Wash your pet with soap and water to remove saliva from the attacking animal. Do not let your animal come into contact with other animals or people until the situation can be dealt with by animal control or county health department staff.

Rabies in Florida 

Raccoons have been reported most frequently followed by bats and foxes. Since the 1980s, rabid cats were reported more frequently than rabid dogs. Rabid bobcats, skunks, otters, horses, cattle and ferrets have also been reported.

Did you know? 

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured. The virus attacks the brain of warm-blooded animals, including people.

When an animal is sick with rabies, the virus is shed in the saliva and can be passed to another animal or a person, usually through a bite. Transmission may also occur if this saliva or the animal's nervous tissue enters open wounds, the mouth, nose or eyes of another animal or person.