The Hillsborough County Health Department is warning people, especially pet owners, to be careful after a dog was attacked by a rabid raccoon.
The raccoon found in the area of Frost Aster Dr. in Riverview is the first confirmed rabies case in the county this year.
No rabies alert was issued since it's a single case found in wildlife, but they say the incident serves as a reminder to sensure pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations.
The dog was attacked on Tuesday and taken to a nearby clinic to be treated for wounds. The dog received a rabies vaccine and is expected to recover. The raccoon tested positive for rabies.
The Department of Health is notifying all homes within a 500-foot radius of where the raccoon was found and the dog is quarantined for now to ensure it does not become ill with rabies.
People should avoid contact with any animal that lives in the wild, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes. Some may be tempted to feed or help the animal, but it isn't worth the risk. The only definitive way to determine if an animal has rabies is a lab examination.
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. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans.
In 2018, Hillsborough County identified 10 rabid animals (six cats, two bats and two raccoons) that exposed 20 people and five domestic dogs to the disease. It's clear that there are rabid animals living throughout the county
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.