Colorado

Jul 15, 2010 5:37 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Bat tests positive for rabies in Pueblo

It's a double-whammy for Pueblo. First, West Nile Virus. Now, a rabid bat.

"This bat testing positive for rabies confirms rabies is in Pueblo this summer, it is important for individuals to protect themselves and their pets from wild animals that may carry rabies," stated Christine Nevin-Woods, Public Health Director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

"People need to know that bats do carry rabies. When a bat is acting aggressively, lying on the ground, or out during the daylight hours it may be ill. Do not try to catch flying bats and do not handle bats," described Dr. Nevin-Woods. She added, "Call Pueblo Animal Control 544-3005: extension 4 if a bat is found with these characteristics."

Rabies may also be transmitted to your family by fleas that bite a rabid bat, then your or your pets. The Health Department advises everyone to make sure their pets' rabies shots are up-to-date.

Sarah Bruestle of the Health Department, passed along these tips for safeguarding your family:

· Ensure that dogs, cats and ferrets are vaccinated properly against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Also, discuss vaccinating horses and other livestock with your veterinarian.

· Do not feed wild animals or allow your pets around them. Teach children to stay away from wild mammals. Do not keep pet food outside as that may attract wild animals.

· Protect all pets, particularly animals too young to be vaccinated, from contact with wild animals. Puppies and kittens can be vaccinated for rabies as early as 4 months old.

· Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by wild animals, such as skunks, bats, foxes or raccoons.

· If you or a family member has been bitten by a wild animal or a domestic animal unknown to you, contact your physician and Pueblo Animal Control without delay.

· If you see a wild animal during daylight hours acting abnormally, such as stumbling or acting overly aggressive, make sure you keep children and pets away from the animal and call the Division of Wildlife to report the location.

· To remove a dead wild animal on your property, do not touch the animal. Remove the carcass with a shovel or other tool, and double bag it for the trash.

· Take steps to bat proof your home.

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