The El Paso County Public Health Department has reported a rabies positive bat has been found in northeast Colorado Springs.
The bat was found May 31st, outside the Alta Convenience Store at 39445 Palmer Park Blvd. According to the Health Department, this is the first rabid bat discovered in El Paso County in 2018.
The Health Department is advising anyone who may have touched the bat on or after May 31st to immediately call El Paso County Health at (719) 578 – 3220. If you did touch this bat, you may be at risk for contracting rabies.
The animal was captured June 5th after the Health Department was notified of possible exposure to a customer. On June 7th, the animal was tested and found to be positive.
“The likelihood of exposure to the public is low, however El Paso County Public Health is taking precautionary steps to determine if anyone is at risk for exposure,” said Shannon Rowe, El Paso County Public Health Epidemiologist.
The Health Department want’s to remind the public that rabies is fatal in humans if exposed by a bite or scratch from a rabid animal, and not treated. The rabies can spread from an infected animal to a person or pet by a bite or scratch, even if very small or barely noticeable. It can also be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.
For general questions about rabies, call COHELP at 1-877-462-2911, available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Take these precautions to prevent rabies:
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
- When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
- Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
- Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
- Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
- If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and El Paso County Public Health at (719) 578-3220.
- To report an animal bite from a domestic or wild animal go to https://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/report-an-animal-bite.
- If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options (719) 473-1741.
- Contact an animal-control specialist for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management.
How to recognize sick wildlife:
· Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
- Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
- Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
- However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
- Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.
El Paso County rabies confirmed cases (2010-2018)
2018: 51 (50 skunks, 1 bat)
2017: 28 (7 bats, 21 skunks)
2016: 3 (bats)
2015: 6 (5 bats, 1 cat)
2014: 10 (bats)
2013: 8 (4 bats, 2 foxes, 2 skunks)
2012: 3 (bats)
2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)
2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)
For more information go to www.elpasocountyhealth.org.