Man being treated after contact with rabid bat in Tampa

- For the second time in a week, a rabid animal has been found in Hillsborough County.

A rabid bat was found dead on the 1300 block of North Westshore in Tampa.

The bat was found on its back in a grassy area according to the Florida Department of Health and was taken to a local veterinary office. It later tested positive for rabies.

The person who was exposed to the rabid animal is from Orange County and is expected to receive treatment there.

The total number of people exposed to rabies this year in Hillsborough County is 10. In 2017, three animals exposed ten people.

"I would be moderately concerned, just because of the severity of rabies itself," said Laison Nguyen, a veterinarian at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital.

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Nguyen says the relatively high number of cases signals this is a good time to double check pets have been vaccinated, and to remind youngsters not to approach strange animals.

Ones that are acting strange, either overly energetic or dazed, should be avoided.

"Any nocturnal animal, like bats, raccoons, and skunks and things like that. If you see them out in the day, you should avoid them," said Nguyen.

A good idea, he says, is to keep animals on leashes if you're walking in the woods, and to keep outdoor garbage cans sealed to keep wild animals away. 

Any possible exposure should be treated even if symptoms don't show right away.

"Even if you think you might not have been bitten, it is better safe than sorry," said Nguyen. "Get checked out rather than get sick later."

Earlier this week, a domestic cat was found to have rabies in North Tampa.

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