The Florida Department of Health in Gulf County on Thursday issued a rabies alert for the Wewahitchka area after a skunk tested positive on Wednesday, according to a department press release.

The skunk was found off County Road 381 in Wewahitchka.

The department urges caution while outdoors and be aware of surroundings at all times.

Gulf County residents should be aware rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.

The rabies alert is for 60 days.

All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. 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 following advice is issued:

• Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.

• If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact County Animal Services at 227-1115.

• Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.

• Do not 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.

• 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.

• Persons 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 Gulf County at 227-1276.