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Rabies alert issued in Hillsborough County after stray cat tests positive

Rabies alert active for 60 days, per DOH-Hillsborough
Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 08, 2022

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A 60-day rabies alert has been issued in Hillsborough County after a stray cat tested positive for the disease, according to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

The alert was issued after a black domestic shorthair stray cat tested positive on Monday, March 7. DOH-Hillsborough said one person was exposed to the stray cat and has begun rabies post-exposure vaccination.

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 immunizations. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

The rabies alert, per DOH-Hillsborough, has been issued for the area surrounding E. Brank Drive in Tampa, which is near Robles Elementary School.

It includes the following boundaries:

  • Northern: Puritan Road
  • Eastern: 56th Street
  • Southern: E Sligh Ave
  • Western: Hillsborough River

Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or exposed to the saliva of this cat is asked to report the exposure to DOH-Hillsborough.

"This incident serves as a reminder that people should stay away from "neighborhood pets" or any wild animal," DOH-Hillsborough said in a press release. "Some may be tempted to feed or help the animal, but it isn't worth the risk."

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
  • Do not allow your pets to run free.
  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
  • 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.

For further information on rabies, click here or call the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8059.