Jamaican fruit bats hang from the ceiling in the Caracol Observatory at the Palm Beach Zoo. PHOTO BY: RICHARD GRAULICH.

PORT ST. LUCIE — Local health officials are advising people to avoid contact with bats.

The advisory followed “a bat-related situation” Friday at The Landings in Tradition, according to a new release from the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County.

Officials were providing treatment for the risk of rabies to exposed individuals and working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

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No further information was available Sunday.

If you are exposed to a bat through accidental contact, a bite or a scratch, call 772-462-3883 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday or 772-462-3800 after hours.

Appropriate treatment through post-exposure vaccination, started soon after exposure, protects people from the risk of rabies, according to the release. The only preventative treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immunoglobulin and rabies immunization.

Rabies is present in the wild animal population, and people should avoid contact with wildlife.

Local officials gave the following precautions:

  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they don’t come in contact with wild animals.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, schools and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people and pets.

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