Rabies Alert issued in Town n’ Country, 2nd Hillsborough cat tests positive

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Another rabies alert was issued Thursday for Hillsborough County. This is the second alert since last week.  This time, Health Department officials are warning residents to be on the lookout in the Town N Country area.

Residents living in the area are on edge after a cat tested positive.Staff went door to door around Hannah Corsa’s neighborhood Thursday morning.

“They just came by with flyers and said to read the flyer. There’s been an incident with a cat getting rabies,” said Corsa.

The cat was captured just around the corner from her house at an apartment complex where the alert is centered.

“It was a domesticated cat that’s been fed in the community and it was in and around some people, they were petting it or what not and it bit them,” said Steve Huard, with the Florida Department of Health of Hillsborough County.

Those living within the boundaries of Tampa Bay Trail, Hillsborough Ave., West Waters Ave. and Southern Brook Bend, are asked to be cautious of any strays.

This is the second alert that’s gone out in the county. Another cat tested positive for rabies in Citrus Park last week. Huard said, “This is a really good opportunity for folks to check their animals, their domestic animals rabies vaccination, keep an eye on them when they’re outside and walking them in their yards.”

But it’s the animals living behind Corsa’s house that make her weary for her family. “We have bobcats in our neighborhood, coyotes in our neighborhood, not to mention raccoons, possiums, all the things that catch rabies,” she said.

The county announced the rabies alert almost a week after a News Channel 8 aired an investigative report about a rabid cat in the Citrus Park area.

On Friday, Feb. 19, 8 On Your Side Investigator Steve Andrews reported that a rabid cat attacked a man in Citrus Park. The rabid cat had attacked and killed two other cats before attacking the man. Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center told WFLA.com that staff trapped and euthanized five stray feral cats that were in the area because they were living under the same conditions as the rabid cat.

The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hillsborough County, said the county in the rabies alert issued on Thursday, Feb. 25. The county also said that this is the second case of rabies in Hillsborough this year, the first case was reported February 17, in the Citrus Park area of Hillsborough County.

The county said that alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not give a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Mallory Square Drive, Tampa, FL 33635 and includes the following area boundaries in Hillsborough County:

  • Tampa Bay Trail, East Boundary
  • Hillsborough Ave, South Boundary
  • West Waters Ave, North Boundary
  • Southern Brook Bend, West Boundary

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. 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 the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at (813) 744-5660.
  • 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 in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8059.

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