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Rabid bat found in Lemhi County

MGN Online

SALMON, Idaho (EIPH News Release)– A bat found in the yard of a residence in Lemhi County has been identified as having rabies. While most bats are harmless and do not carry rabies, they are the only animal in Idaho that is a natural reservoir for the virus. Rabies is a fatal viral illness in humans and other animals. Household pets and other animals can be exposed to the virus by playing with sick bats that can no longer fly normally. This is why it is important for people to make sure that their animals are vaccinated against rabies.

Ken Anderson, Epidemiologist at Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) says, “It is important if you have been bitten, scratched, or have come in close contact with a bat to contact your health care provider immediately.” Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear, but it can be prevented almost 100% of the time when the rabies vaccine and other medical therapies are administered soon after the exposure occurs.”
For all Eastern Idaho Community members, to protect yourself and your pets, EIPH offers the following tips:

  • Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. If you have had contact with a bat or wake
    up to find a bat in your room, seek medical advice immediately. The teeth of a bat are
    very small and people are sometimes bitten in their sleep without feeling it. Any bat
    found in a home should be tested for rabies if there is any suspicion that an exposure
    to a person or pet might have occurred.
  • Parents should teach their children to avoid bats, never bring them to school for showand-
    tell, and to let an adult know if they find one.
  • Only if you or your pet has had contact or may have had contact with a bat, save it in a
    non-breakable container if it is alive, or sealed and double-bagged in clear plastic bags.
    Only do this while wearing thick gloves. Call EIPH at (208) 533-3152 to determine
    whether testing the bat for rabies is indicated. If it is determined that you or your pet
    may be at risk of exposure to rabies, testing of the bat is a free service.
  • Rabies is deadly for pets, too. Always vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses
    — even indoor pets could be exposed to rabies if a bat gets into a home.
  • Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tightfitting
    screens on windows. For information about bat proofing your home, go to the
    CDC's page on rabies prevention.
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