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
New reports of West Nile virus infections and bats being found with rabies are a good warning for people to watch out for biting critters.
Today, Southwest District Health Department announced three human cases of West Nile virus, two in Canyon County and one in Payette County, bringing the statewide total to 5. Also today, Central District Health issued a warning for people to be aware of an above-average season of rabid bats, documenting 7 rabid bats in Ada County since June. Last year, Ada County reported 2 rabid bats. Continue reading
(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
A bat found in Meridian has tested positive for rabies, Central District Health Department (CDHD) has reported this afternoon. The bat was found in the back yard of a central Meridian home and is the first of the year to test positive for rabies in Idaho.
There is no known exposure to people or pets.
Each year, rabid bats are discovered throughout the state. Public health officials want to remind people to take precautions around bats and make sure that their dogs, cats and horses are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines. Ten bats tested positive for rabies last year in Idaho, with two of the reports occurring in Ada County.
“Bats are the main source of rabies exposures in Idaho, and every year we receive reports of rabid bats,” said Sarah Correll, epidemiologist with the Central District Health Department. “We encourage parents to talk to their children about the importance of not touching bats or other wild animals, because doing so can have serious medical consequences.” Continue reading
A bat found in Boise has tested positive for rabies, Central District Health Department reported this afternoon. The dead bat was recently discovered in a residential area in southeast Boise, and is the first one of the year in Idaho to test positive for rabies.
Rabid bats are discovered statewide each year. Public health officials want to remind people to take precautions around bats and make sure that their dogs, cats and horses are up to date on their rabies vaccine. Last year in Idaho, 11 bats and one skunk tested positive for rabies, with two of the bat reports occurring in Ada County, and two in neighboring Canyon County.
“Bats are the main source of rabies exposures in Idaho, and every year we receive reports of rabid bats,” says Sarah Correll, Central District Health Department (CDHD) epidemiologist. “We encourage parents to talk to their children about the importance of not touching bats or other wild animals.”
One warning sign that a bat may carry rabies is daytime activity, which is unusual for healthy bats.
Rabies can cause a fatal illness. People should call their health care provider immediately if they have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Medical therapy given to people soon after a possible rabies exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies.
To protect yourself and your pets, CDHD offers the following tips:
- Do not touch a bat with your bare hands.
- If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention.
- If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. You can wear leather gloves if you must pick it up with your hands. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies.
- Always vaccinate your pets, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.
- Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.
For more information on bats and rabies, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies.
To track the number of rabid bats in Idaho, visit: http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/RabiesInformation/tabid/176/Default.aspx