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Posts tagged: rabid bats

H&W: Teach kids to avoid bats

Idaho's Department of Health & Welfare is advising parents and schools to teach kids to avoid bats, and never handle live or dead bats that they may come across. The warning follows a 2006 incident in which children walking to school in Boise found a dead bat and brought it to school, exposing a number of schoolchildren to the potentially deadly rabies virus. “It is very important for parents to teach children to never handle a bat, or any other unfamiliar wild or domestic animal, even if they appear friendly,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho deputy state epidemiologist. “Don’t let them bring bats into show-and-tell, and teach children to report any contact with a bat to an adult right away.” Click below for H&W's full announcement, including tips to protect yourself and your pets; 20 bats have tested positive for rabies in Idaho so far this year, and at least 49 people have undergone rabies shots after exposure. The most recent rabid bat found in Idaho was captured in central Idaho over the Labor Day holiday weekend, after swooping down on people in an outdoor pool.

Summer’s first rabid bat reported in southeastern Idaho

Idaho has had its first confirmed rabid bat, as a bat from southeastern Idaho tested positive for rabies last week, prompting a warning from the state Department of Health & Welfare for precautions, from making sure pets and horses are vaccinated against rabies, to avoiding contact with bats, the only animal in Idaho that naturally carries the rabies virus. Click below for the full news release from H&W; Idaho averages 15 rabid bat reports per year statewide.

Rabid bat found in Canyon County

Another rabid bat has been found in Idaho, this time in Canyon County, where it flew into a home and was being played with by a cat. The bat tested positive for rabies, and the cat hadn’t been vaccinated. “That’s why it’s so important to have your pets vaccinated, because if they aren’t vaccinated, the family has to make the unfortunate choice of either euthanizing the pet or … keeping them in isolation for six months,” said Laurie Boston, public information officer for Southwest District Health.

So far this year, rabid bats have been reported in Blaine, Boise and Shoshone counties; eight were found last year. Health & Welfare officials advise people to stay away from bats, and contact their health care provider if they’ve been bitten or scratched.

Aggressive bats strike again in Wood River Valley; three undergoing rabies shots

It’s happened again: Aggressive bats have attacked people in the Wood River Valley, and three people now are undergoing painful rabies vaccines. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that one person was bitten and two more may have been bitten; the encounters were in Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum. This comes after a fisherman on the Wood River west of Hailey was pestered by an aggressive bat in July, and the bat, which he captured after finding it attached to his life vest as he went to leave, tested positive for rabies. In early August, a child who was swimming in a pond in Crouch was exposed to a rabid bat that swooped down and scratched him; the boy’s father captured the bat, and it, too, tested positive for rabies. No bats were captured in the three Wood River Valley incidents in the past week. The first rabid bat found in Idaho this year was in Shoshone County in North Idaho in March; last year, eight were found.

Health & Welfare officials say it’s unusual for a bat to be active during the daytime, let alone to aggressively attack humans; the odd behavior can be a sign of rabies, a fatal viral illness. “Bats and other mammals can carry rabies, making it extremely important for people to avoid bats or other animals, wild or domestic, that may appear sick or are acting aggressive or in an abnormal manner,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist. “People should not pick up or touch any bat. People should call their health care provider immediately if they have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Medical therapy administered to people soon after a possible rabies exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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