HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A rabies alert is in place in Hillsborough County after officials with the Florida Department of Health say a man in Gibsonton was attacked by a rabid cat.
The alert is in place for 60 days. The boundaries are:
- North: The Alafia River
- South: Symmes Road
- East: E Bay Road
- West: US Hwy 41
This is the ninth rabid animal identified in Hillsborough County in 2018, health officials say — six cats, two bats and one raccoon. They say 20 people have been exposed, as well as four domestic dogs.
Officials say the attack happened near Nundy Avenue in Gibsonton. The man said the cat jumped out of the bushes while he was walking and grabbed onto his foot. He then shot and killed the cat, according to officials.
The man is now undergoing a preventative treatment after being exposed to rabies, health officials say.
DOH officials ask anyone who is bitten, scratched or exposed to the saliva of a wild animal that's acting unusual to report it to their local health department and visit their doctor.
Health officials ask residents and visitors to take these precautions for preventing exposure:
- 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 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 encounter 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.
For more information on rabies, you can visit the Department of Health's website or call DOH-Hillsborough County at 813-307-8059.