The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has reported the second confirmed case of rabies for 2020. According to health officials, a woman in Carrollwood was walking around her neighborhood at night saw a bat on the sidewalk and decided to pick it up. The bat bit her finger during the process. She brought the bat to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County and it was tested for rabies. The bat tested positive and the woman is now receiving rabies prophylaxis.
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.
Residents and visitors are advised to 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 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.