Colorado

Jun 19, 2013 7:00 PM by Kirsten Bennett

First case of rabies confirmed in Pueblo County

A bat found on San Carlos Road between La Vista and Starlight Roads tested positive for rabies. Public health officials warn individuals, especially children, to stay away from bats.

Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Bat teeth are very small and sharp; a wound from a bat bite may not be visible. Rabies also can be transmitted by a scratch or if the animal's saliva gets into a cut or break in the skin. Just seeing the bat or being in the area, without any physical contact, is not a risk.

This is the first animal to be confirmed with rabies in Pueblo County this year. Rabies has been found in wild skunks, foxes and bats throughout Pueblo County in recent years. Pet and livestock owners are highly encouraged to vaccinate animals against rabies through a licensed veterinarian.

To avoid exposure to rabies:

· Never touch a wild bat or any other wild animal. A healthy bat likely will not come near enough to be touched, therefore a bat that is slow, lying on the ground or lands on a person could be showing signs of illness. If you can touch the animal, chances are it is sick. Children who find a bat should leave it where it is and tell an adult.

· Do not pick up a bat with your hands, even if you're wearing gloves. Use a shovel.

· If you are bitten by a bat, other wild animal, or if you suspect you've been exposed to their saliva, try to contain the animal without touching it or monitor where the animal wanders off to. Contact your local animal control agency 544-3005 press "0" or health department 583-4317 for the animal to be collected for testing.

· Keep your doors and windows covered with intact screens. Do not leave screenless doors or windows open in the evening.

· If you have bats in your house, try to find the source of entry and seal it. If assistance is needed, call a local nuisance wildlife trapper who has experience on how to do this.

· Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies. Keep in mind that vaccines not administered by a licensed veterinarian are not considered valid vaccinations in the State of Colorado, including Pueblo County.

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