TAMPA, FL — A domestic short-haired black cat found in north Tampa has tested positive for rabies.
The cat was found on Banyan Bluff Drive near the Turtle Creek Apartment Homes off East Bearss Avenue.
The Department of Health in Hillsborough County has identified one person who was exposed to the cat. That person is now being treated.
DOH-Hillsborough environmental health employees will be going door to door to notify residents in the area to determine if anyone else was exposed.
This is the second cat this year this has tested positive for rabies in Hillsborough County. Eight people have been exposed to the rabies virus.
In 2017, three animals exposed ten people.
All residents and visitors in Hillsborough County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated.
The health department has issued a rabies alert for the area and is asking the public to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hillsborough County.
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 a person from the disease.
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.
People 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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