WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Section on Thursday confirmed its first case of rabies in 2022, finding it within a bat in Winter Haven, officials said.
A family dog near Lake Mirror was found with the bat in its mouth Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said. The family contacted PCSO Animal Control, which sent the bat to Tampa for testing, according to a news release. The species of bat was not immediately disclosed.
The bat did not injure the dog, but Sheriff Grady Judd said it was still exposed and put at risk.
“Fortunately, this dog was current on its rabies vaccination, but it will have to be quarantined to make sure it is not infected. Remember, if a wild mammal is acting aggressive or appears sick, stay away from it and contact Animal Control immediately,” Judd said.
The sheriff’s office said five cases of rabies were confirmed last year in Polk County, with only two cases detected in 2020.
Illness caused by the rabies virus can be nearly 100% fatal in humans and other mammals if left untreated, according to the Florida Department of Health. For more information on rabies, follow this link to the FDOH website.