Rabies alert issued for Tampa neighborhood after cat tests positive

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —  Hillsborough County health officials have issued a rabies alert for a Tampa neighborhood after a domestic cat tested positive for rabies.

The rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Pinnacle Heights Circle in Tampa, zip code 33624, and includes the following area boundaries in Hillsborough County:

  • Ehrlich Road, North Boundary
  • Casey Road / S Village Dr, East Boundary
  • Highway 587, South Boundary  Farmington Blvd / Canopy Creek Drive, West Boundary

This is the third case of rabies in the county this year. The first two cases were reported in the Lutz area of Hillsborough County.

The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hillsborough County.

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 health department wants all residents of Hillsborough County to be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.

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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