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

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Rabies Surveillance

Florida Department of Health in Manatee County

What is rabies?

Rabies is a fatal disease that affects mammals, including humans.  It is primarily transmitted to humans through bites or scratches from infected animals.  People bitten by rabid animals should seek immediate treatment to prevent contracting the disease. It is important not to handle wild animals, to be aware of animals exhibiting unusual behavior, and to vaccinate pets against rabies.

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

What should I do if I am bitten?

Report the bite immediately to Environmental Health.  All bites from mammals to humans are required to be reported to Environmental Health.

Animal Bite Report Form (50KB PDF)

  • Pets or other known animals:  If the bite animal is known and available, it will be quarantined at an approved site for 10 days from the date of the bite or exposure and then released if in good health. The victim of the bite or exposure is notified that the animal is in good health after the quarantine and that rabies is not a concern.
  • Wild animals:  If the bite animal is wild and unavailable for testing, DOH-Manatee's Immunization Clinic will provide the necessary shots to the victim to prevent rabies.  These shots include Human Rabies Immunoglobulin (HRIG) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).  In circumstances where the bite animal is available and is at high risk for rabies infection, the animal will be humanely sacrificed and subsequently examined for rabies infection. Test results are reported to the exposed patient and appropriate control measures are taken.

Animal-upon-Animal Bites

Environmental Health also investigates animal-upon-animal bites, such as a raccoon attack on a pet dog.

Animals involved in a bite or exposure are checked for current tags and vaccinations. Environmental Health works closely with Manatee County Animal Services to ensure animals have current tags and vaccinations. Bites involving loose and/or vicious domestic animals are always investigated by Animal Services.

Rabies contact:
Barbara D Will, MPH 941-714-7585

More information:

  • Manatee County Animal Services: 941-742-5933
  • Rabies (Florida Department of Health - state page)