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Bat in Bingham County tests positive for rabies


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BINGHAM COUNTY — Southeastern Idaho Public Health announced Wednesday a bat in Bingham County tested positive for rabies.

In a news release, SIPH says this is the first bat in Idaho to test positive for rabies this year. They say 12 bats tested positive for rabies in Idaho last year.

“While most bats do not carry rabies, rabies is a virtually 100% fatal viral illness in humans and other animals,” according to the news release.

SIPH recommends people follow these guidelines to protect themselves and their pets from rabies:

  • Never touch bats with your bare hands.
  • Be very suspicious of bat activity during daylight hours.
  • If you or your child wakes up in the presence of a bat, discuss the situation with your medical provider.
    Seemingly insignificant exposures have contributed to several fatal cases of rabies in the past.
  • If you have an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention immediately. Save the bat in a container and
    contact your local district health department immediately for testing options. Never handle a bat with
    your bare hands—use gloves, a towel, etc.
  • Because household pets and other animals can be exposed to the virus through contact with sick bats, it is important for people to make sure that their animals (dogs, cats, horses, and ferrets) are up to date on
    vaccinations against rabies. If your dog or cat brings a dead bat home, collect it in a plastic bag without
    touching it and call your district health department for possible testing. Also, contact your veterinarian to
    make sure your animal’s rabies vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • Bat-proof your home or cabin by checking chimneys, roof peaks, loose screening on louvers, dormer
    windows, or areas where flashing has pulled away from the roof or siding. Bats can enter through holes the
    size of a quarter. Typically, bat-proofing is best after bats have migrated away in the fall.

The SIPH says to find more information about rabies people can call Jeff Deorr, the district epidemiologist at 208-278-6321, visit the SIPH website or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.