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Rabid Bat found in Sun City Center Area

By Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County

July 18, 2018

While a woman was helping her friend into a vehicle, something struck her on the arm. This occurred on Monday, July 16, in a parking lot around the 4000 Block of Upper Creek Drive in the Sun City Center area. She didn’t see what it was and went home. While at home she went to the restroom and discovered a small bat clinging to her arm. The woman immediately squished it with a towel.

DOH-Hillsborough was contacted and tested the bat for rabies. The results came back positive for rabies.

DOH-Hillsborough will be notifying all homes and businesses within a 500-foot radius of where the bat was found.

This rabies exposure is unusual, but thankfully DOH-Hillsborough was notified so the victim could begin treatment.

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.

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 seven rabid animals (four cats, two bats and one raccoon) that exposed 15 people and four domestic dogs to the disease. It’s clear that there are rabid animals living throughout the county and state.

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 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.

For further information on rabies, go to Florida Department of Health's Rabies Site or call the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8000, or (813) 744-5660.