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Rabid bat prompts health warning

Mon., July 27, 2009, 10:21 a.m.

A bat in the Boise area has tested positive for rabies, prompting Idaho health officials to remind people to take precautions around bats and make sure their dogs, cats and horses are vaccinated against rabies.

The bat is the state’s first of the year to test positive for rabies. Last year, 10 bats in Idaho tested positive for rabies, which can cause a fatal viral illness in humans and other animals.

“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,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist, said.

“People should not pick up or touch any bat,” Tengelsen added. “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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