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

Rabies in Idaho: Leave bats alone!

(Note: A Closer Look At Your Health airs most Tuesdays at 6:50 a.m. on KBOI News Radio 670. This is an edited transcript of the segment from June 28. Since then, another bat has tested positive for rabies, bringing the grand total to two so far this summer.) 

Rabid bats are found every year in Idaho, mostly between May and November. We’ve had one report of a rabid bat this year; it was found in Meridian. There likely will be more, so it’s a good idea to remind your kids that if they see a bat they should leave it alone and tell an adult.

Why is it important for children to leave bats alone?

Rabies infection 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 bat and didn’t seek medical attention right away. The bite of a bat can be so small that people don’t realize the risk associated with it. Continue reading