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Hillsborough County sees its first case of rabies in 2019

A rabid raccoon was located.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Raccoon eating food.

RIVERVIEW, Fla. — Hillsborough County has its first confirmed case of rabies this year.

A raccoon found around Frost Aster Drive in Riverview tested positive for rabies after being seen attacking a dog on Oct. 15.

The pet was taken to a nearby veterinary clinic, got a rabies vaccine and is expected to recover.

Health leaders are notifying people living within a 500-foot radius of where the raccoon was found. The dog has been quarantined.

"An alert is not being issued since this is a single case found in wildlife," the health department wrote in an email. "However, this incident serves as a reminder to ensure pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccination."

Rabies is a disease that targets the nervous system and can kill warm-blooded animals and humans.

Animals that have rabies can infect wild or domestic animals. People should avoid contact with wild animals -- especially bats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, otters and bobcats.

"Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or exposed to the saliva of any wild animal or an animal that is acting unusual should always report the exposure to the local health department," the health department said.

Last year, Hillsborough County identified 10 rabid animals, including six cats, two bats and two raccoons that left a total of 20 people and five domestic dogs exposed to the disease.

According to the county health department, people in the area should take the following precautions:

  • 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 Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8059.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • 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.

RELATED: Rabies alert issued after rabid raccoon attacks dog in Pasco County

RELATED: Eighth case of rabies confirmed in Polk County after bat tests positive

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