PUEBLO — Public health officials in Pueblo and in Teller County are warning people to stay away from wildlife and ensure your pets are vaccinated for rabies after each reported bats tested positive for the disease.
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environments says skunks have tested positive for rabies, but this is the first positive test for a bat this year.
The Teller County Sheriff's Office says a bat found by a homeowner on their property earlier this week in Woodland Park also tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures in this case.
Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted through a bite from an infected animal, or if the saliva of an infected animal gets into an open wound or through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Symptoms include fever, agitation, abnormal behavior, seizures, and paralysis. Once symptoms appear there is no treatment to prevent death from rabies.
Any bat that is found in a home or that humans or pets come in contact with needs to be tested because the animals have small teeth and a bite may not be visible.
If you find a bat in your home or on your property leave the area immediately and take your pets, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 719-569-1906 to collect the bat, and report the incident to the health department at 719-583-4998.
To avoid exposure to rabies:
- Never touch a bat or any other wild animal
- If you are bitten by a wild animal wash the area thoroughly with soap and water then contact your physician and local health department
- Make sure pets are vaccinated against rabies, and keep in mind vaccines must be administered by a licensed veterinarian to be considered valid in Colorado
- If your pet is exposed to wildlife contact your veterinarian and report it to your local health department
- Keep pets on a leash when outdoors
For more information see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.