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Second being treated after cat tests positive for rabies in Hillsborough County

By Will Kennedy, Times Staff Writer
Published: March 8, 2018 Updated: March 8, 2018 at 07:15 PM

TAMPA A second person is undergoing treatment after being bitten by a rabid cat in North Tampa, according to the Hillsborough County Health Department.

The black, short-haired domestic cat tested positive for rabies after it was found in the Banyan Bluff Drive area earlier this week, according to the Hillsborough County Health Department.

One of the people bitten was walking a dog when the cat "acted aggressively" toward the dog. Health Department spokesman Kevin Watler said. The second person was bitten while trying to help the dog walker.

Rabies treatment takes place over two weeks and requires five vaccines according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two animals have exposed nine people to rabies in Hillsborough County this year, officials said. In 2017, three animals in Hillsborough tested positive, exposing 10 people to the disease.

The Health Department warns that all domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies. All contact with wild animals should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. If not treated, rabies can be fatal to animals and humans.

If exposed, by bite or scratch, the Health Department says to seek immediate medical attention and to report it to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8000.