Rabies Alert Issued After Gibsonton Man Attacked By Rabid Cat

Gibsonton, Fla.(970 WFLA)-A rabies alert has been issued  for  an area of Gibsonton after a rabid cat  attacked a man walking along Nundy Avenue.   

The Hillsborough Department of Health says the brown and white  tabby jumped out of the bushes and grabbed onto the mans  foot.   The man shot and killed the cat, he's having to under go a series of rabies injections.  

The health department's warning people in the area to avoid contact with any wild animal.  The rabies alert is in effect for 60 days, the boundaries are:

*North - The Alafia River

*South - Symmes Road

*East - E. Bay Road

*West - US HWY 41

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 and visit their preferred health care provider.  The contact number for DOH-Hillsborough is (813) 307-8059.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans.People should avoid contact with any animal that lives in the wild. 

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. 

Last year, three animals exposed ten people.In 2018, Hillsborough County has identified nine rabid animals (six cats, two bats and one raccoon) that exposed 20 people and four domestic dogs to the disease. 

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies.   All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes.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 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 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.

Click here to read more about rabies prevention

Photo credit:Florida Dept. Of Health


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