Tampa, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Officials issued a rabies alert after a stray cat attacked three people and exposed them to rabies this past week. The Hillsborough County Department of Health confirmed that the cat responsible for the unprovoked attack Tuesday on three members of the same family had rabies.
Officials found the cat along West Knollwood Street in Tampa. The three victims currently receive treatment. DOH officials did not know if the rabid cat had come in contact with anyone else. Their alert lasting 60 days has the following boundaries:
North to Waters Ave.
South to Hillsborough Ave.
East to Dale Mabry Hwy.
West to Veterans Expy.
Officials ask anyone in the area who might have been bitten, scratched or come in contact with saliva from the brown tabby domestic shorthair cat or any wild animal to see their doctor.
Rabies is a disease of the central nervous system that can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. Officials warn people to avoid wildlife, noting that they might be tempted to try to help or feed an ailing animal, but it is not worth the risk. So far this year, Hillsborough County has identified eight rabid animals (five cats, two bats and one raccoon) that have exposed 18 people and four pet dogs to the disease according to a news release from the DOH.