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Bat found outside of elementary school tests positive for rabies, the first case in El Paso County in 2024

Vampire Bat
Posted at 2:44 PM, May 21, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A bat that was found outside a middle school last Tuesday, May 14, has tested positive for rabies.

According to the El Paso County Department of Public Health, the bat was found outside at Grant Elementary School, near North Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway.

The department said that no one touched the bat at the school, and it was sent in for testing which came back positive for rabies on Friday.

This is the first animal in 2024 to test positive for rabies, according to the public health department.

“Bats naturally live in our region and can be found anywhere in and around our county,” said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, co-medical director of El Paso County Public Health. “During the summer months, we typically see more cases of rabies among wildlife, including bats. With the warmer days and folks spending more time outdoors, it’s possible for people or pets to encounter a bat. Remember a few simple steps to prevent being exposed to rabies: do not interact or touch any wild animal, teach children not to interact with wild animals, and make sure pets are on a leash.”

The public health department also provided some tips on rabies prevention and how many cases have been in El Paso County over the past five years.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:

  • Do not touch or feed any 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, a family member, or a pet is bitten or scratched by a wild animal, call your doctor and notify EPCPH at (719)578-3220 or (719)235-2278 after hours.
  • Seal houses to prevent bats and other animals from nesting, and if already present, use a professional animal removal service.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at (719)473-1741

Rabies prevention for pets

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies. 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 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.

Reports of rabies in El Paso County, Colorado

  • 2023: two (bats)
  • 2022: four (bats)
  • 2021: seven (three bats, three skunks, one cat)
  • 2020: 10 (five bats, four skunks, one sheep)
  • 2019: 16 (nine skunks, five bats, one fox, one dog)

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