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Hillsborough warns of rabid foxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough health officials are warning of rabid foxes in northwest Hillsborough County.

The Hillsborough County Health Department has been notified of two incidents involving foxes about a half-mile apart.

The first was a scratch.

The second happened as Donell Hall, 44, was leaving a sick friend's house before 8 a.m. April 16.

Hall had one leg out of her GMC Jimmy when the fox scratched the back of her leg and then bit her. Hillsborough County Animal Services caught the fox while it was still under Hall's vehicle. It tested positive for rabies.

Health Department spokesman Steve Huard said officials don't know if the same fox was involved in both incidents.

Notify the Health Department at (813) 307-8059 if you fear you've been bitten by a rabid animal. Rabies is fatal to humans and pets if preventive measures are not taken. It can be transmitted to humans through a wild animal's saliva from a bite or a minor scratch.

Keep away, and safeguard pets

The Health Department offers the following guidelines for avoiding rabies:

• Avoid direct contact with wild animals.

• Keep wild animals such as foxes and raccoons out of the house and yard, and do not place feeders in the yard.

• Protect pets by vaccinating them for rabies, and keep their shots up to date.

• Unsupervised outdoor pets are at risk for exposure to rabies through contact with wild animals.

• Eliminate artificial feeding sources. Don't leave food for pets in the yard, especially at night, and secure trash cans with fasteners or enclose them in lockable bins.

• Make sure bird feeders are not accessible to wild animals; most squirrel-proof coverings also deter other wild animals.

Hillsborough warns of rabid foxes 04/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:11am]
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