TAMPA (FOX 13) - A raccoon found in Tampa tested positive for rabies has become the fourth rabid animal case in Hillsborough County, prompting a rabies alert for the northwest area.
On March 9 around 8:30 p.m., a dog was found fighting the raccoon on Tannery Avenue, and eventually killed it. Hillsborough County Animal Control contacted the dog’s owner, according to the Department of Health.
The exposed dog was vaccinated, and as a precaution, the owner was asked to quarantine the pet for 45 days, meaning the dog cannot make contact with other animals or humans outside of the household.
The rabies alert is for 60 days for the following boundaries in Hillsborough County:
North boundary: County Line Road
West boundary: Veterans Expressway
East boundary: West of Interstate 75
South boundary: Kennedy Blvd./US 60
Last year, ten people were exposed to four animals in Hillsborough County, but during the first three months of 2018, four rabid animals exposed 11 people and one domestic dog to rabies.
Health officials advise all domestic animals should be vaccinated, and all contact with wildlife should be avoided. An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans.
The DOH offered 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 Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at (813) 744-5660.
- 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.