Rabid Bat

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Two bats have tested positive for rabies in Payette and Bonneville counties, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare reports, marking the first two rabid bats detected this season. While most bats do not carry rabies, an average of 15 rabid bats are confirmed in Idaho each year; no area of the state is considered rabies-free. “It is extremely important for people to avoid all bats and other wild animals, particularly if they appear sick or are acting aggressively or abnormally,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian, said in a news release.

Rabies is a viral illness that is fatal if not promptly treated; anyone who believes they have been bitten or scratched by a bat is urged to contact their health care provider.

In Payette County, one person was exposed to the rabid bat and has sought care from a healthcare provider. In Bonneville County, a vaccinated dog found the rabid bat. The dog and the owner had potential exposures to the rabid bat and are seeking medical care from both their veterinarian and health care provider.

Bats are the only known natural carriers of the rabies virus in Idaho and should always be avoided, Tengelsen said. There’s more info online here.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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