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Deputies issue warning after second rabid bat found in Polk County

Rabid bat bit employee at Hillsborough County rehab center, officials say

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A second case of rabies this year has been confirmed in Polk County after a bat bit an employee at a Hillsborough County rehabilitation center, according to deputies.

Polk County deputies said a man found the bat earlier this month at his Winter Haven home before he took it to the rehab center. 

The bat was later sent to a state lab to be tested for rabies. On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health told Animal Control officials that it tested positive for the disease.

The case comes after a rabid bat in Lakeland was found in May. 

Officials are now asking the community to remember that bats are considered to be high-risk species when it comes to rabies.

Deputies recommend that people avoid approaching any animal that’s acting unusual or suspicious.

Anyone who thinks they or their pet may have been exposed to rabies should contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control unit at 863-577-1762.


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