BOISE — Health officials say a bat found in Boise has tested positive for rabies. The dead bat was found in a residential area in southeast Boise. This is the first bat in Idaho in 2015 to test positive for rabies.
Central District Health Department reminds the public that rabid bats are discovered statewide every year. They are urging the public to take precautions around bats and make sure your dogs, cats and horses are up-to-date on their rabies vaccine.
Last year in Idaho, 11 bats and one skunk tested positive for rabies, with two of the bat reports occurring in Ada County, and two in Canyon County.
“Bats are the main source of rabies exposures in Idaho, and every year we receive reports of rabid bats,” said Sarah Correll, CDHD Epidemiologist. “We encourage parents to talk to their children about the importance of not touching bats or other wild animals.”
One warning sign that a bat may carry rabies is daytime activity, which is unusual behavior for healthy bats.
Rabies can cause a fatal illness. People should call their health care provider immediately if they have been bitten or scratched by a bat.
To protect yourself and your pets, CDHD offers the following tips:
– Do not touch a bat with your bare hands
– If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention
– If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies.
– Always vaccinate your pets, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.
– Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.