Polk County confirms first case of rabies in 2023 after bat tests positive

Sheriff urges residents to contact animal control for concerns over sick animals

Polk County Sheriff's Office (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The first case of rabies in 2023 has been confirmed in Polk County, according to the sheriff’s office.

On March 22, a family dog in Winter Haven was found with a live bat in its mouth, deputies said. After the family contacted animal control, an officer took the bat and its carcass was sent for testing, deputies added.

In a release, the sheriff’s office said that the test results came back positive for rabies on Tuesday.

The dog wasn’t injured by the bat and was vaccinated, the release shows.

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“Fortunately, this dog was current on its rabies vaccination, but it will have to be quarantined to make sure it is not infected,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Remember, if a wild mammal is acting aggressive or appears sick, stay away from it and contact animal control immediately.”

To reach out to Polk County Animal Control, contact AnimalControl@polksheriff.org or call 863-577-1762. For more information, click here.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.