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Carrollwood woman picks up bat, gets bitten. Turns out, it has rabies

This is the second confirmed case of rabies in Hillsborough County this year. The woman is now being treated.

TAMPA — A Carrollwood woman was bitten by a rabid bat and is now undergoing treatment, according to state officials.

She found it on a sidewalk while walking in her neighborhood one night, picked it up and was bitten on the finger, according to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

Health officials did not release the name of the woman or say what day she was bitten. This is the second confirmed case of rabies in Hillsborough County this year.

The woman brought the bat to a health department office where it tested positive for rabies. The woman is now receiving rabies prophylaxis, the state said.

Since the bat is found in the wild, and this was an isolated case, health officials did not declare a rabies alert. But officials warned that bats are more active this time of year. Residents should call the health department if they find one inside their home.

Residents should keep all their pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations and avoid any contact with wild raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Health officials said the only way to determine if an animal has rabies is via lab examination.

Anyone who is bitten, scratched or exposed to the saliva of a wild animal or an animal that is acting unusual should report the incident to the health department.

Rabies is a disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. Last year, Hillsborough identified only one case of rabies in an animal — a raccoon in the Riverview area. One dog was exposed at the time. In 2018, Hillsborough tracked 10 rabid animals — six cats, two bats and two raccoons — that exposed 20 people and five domestic dogs to the disease.

For more information, residents can call the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8059.

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