Rabid bat found in Lakeland business

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — This year’s first case of rabies in Polk County has been confirmed, the sheriff’s office announced Wednesday.


According to the sheriff’s office, a Brazilian free-tailed bat was found in a north Lakeland business on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The bat was reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Section and sent to a state laboratory in Tampa for rabies testing.

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According to the sheriff’s office, the lab notified Animal Control on Wednesday that the bad was infected with rabies, a potentially fatal viral disease.

Polk County only had three known confirmed cases of rabies all of last year.

The most common method of rabies viral transmission is through the bite of an infected animal.

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“Make sure your pets are vaccinated, and always use caution when confronted by animals that appear sick, aggressive, or in distress,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “If you should encounter an animal that you believe could be infected by rabies, contact Animal Control immediately, and do not attempt to handle the animal yourself.”

For more information on rabies in the state of Florida, including what to do after possible exposure, click here.

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