Fifth Ada County bat tests positive for rabies
Another bat from southwest Idaho has tested positive for rabies this week, bringing the total in Ada County to five and the statewide total to 13.
According to Thomas Shahan with the Department of Health and Welfare, public health officials are alerting everyone about the risks associated with handling bats. Children walking to school or waiting for a bus who find a bat should not touch it or take it to school.
“It is extremely important for everyone to avoid bats or other wild animals that appear to be sick or that are acting aggressively or abnormally,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Deputy State Epidemiologist. “If a child finds a bat, they should leave it alone and tell an adult. Anyone bitten or scratched by a bat should call their health care providers immediately. Medical therapy administered to people after an animal bite is extremely effective in preventing rabies.”
Shanahan says that bats play an important role in our environment. While most are harmless and do not carry rabies, they are the only animal in Idaho that is a natural carrier for the virus.
Idaho averages about 15 rabid bat reports a year.