The Hillsborough County Health Department issued a rabies alert for the area near Shady Pines Dr. in the Lutz area on Tuesday. The alert was issued after two raccoons recently tested positive for rabies.
Hillsborough County Health Department released the following statement to ABC Action news:
“All residents of Hillsborough County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hillsborough County.”
This is the second rabies alert issued for the Lutz area this year. The first case was reported April 21. The alert will stay in effect for 60 days and affects the following areas (per ABC action news):
- Shady Pines Drive, Lutz, FL 33548
- Lake Brant, North Boundary
- Hwy 41, East Boundary
- Lake Magdalene Blvd, South Boundary
- Lake Charles Cir./ Millan De Avila / Indian Mound Road, West Boundary
According to the Hillsborough County Health Department website, the rabies virus can be 100% fatal in humans and other mammals. Most commonly the virus is present in wildlife in Florida and can spread to unvaccinated pets, which can pose a threat to pet owners and their family.
Outside cats are the most common pet to contract the rabies virus because they aren’t kept up-to-date with vaccinations. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required by law to have rabies vaccinations in Florida.
Officials say to prevent exposure to rabies avoid direct contact with wildlife, not to feed wildlife, consult with a veterinarian to ensure pets are up-to-date on vaccinations, and supervise pets and young children while outside.
Be sure to contact your doctor and county health department right away if you have been exposed to rabies. There are treatments for rabies in people if administered promptly.