Rabies: What to do when you wake up and there’s a bat in the room (after you scream!)

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As people head out to enjoy the outdoors this summer or stay outside later with daylight savings time, it’s a good time to talk about how to avoid being exposed to rabies, which is a fatal disease caused by a virus. While many people still associate contracting rabies with domestic dog bites, since 1960 the majority of all rabid animal cases in the U.S. have been with wild animals and bats.

Why is rabies so scary?

Because it is 100 percent fatal for people and animals who do not get timely medical attention. A couple of people in the United States die each year from it, usually because they’ve been bitten or scratched by an animal and didn’t seek medical attention soon after. Continue reading

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Plague Suspected in Treasure Valley Ground Squirrel Deaths

Preliminary tests of ground squirrels (whistle pigs) found dead in desert areas of Ada and Elmore counties have come back positive for plague.  Idaho public health and Idaho Fish and Game officials are asking people to take precautions as outdoor summer activities shift into high gear over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Ground squirrelLast year, plague was confirmed in ground squirrels in the same general areas of southern Idaho (see map below). It can circulate in wild animal populations every year. Confirmatory laboratory tests are being conducted, with results expected next week.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents that is transmitted through the bites of infected fleas and can cause serious illness to people and pets if not treated quickly. Continue reading