North Idaho’s third rabid bat within a month was caught this week in Coeur d’Alene by a family’s pet dog.
No people were directly exposed to the latest rabid bat, health officials said. The dog had been vaccinated and was revaccinated after coming in contact with the bat. The dog will remain under watch at home for several weeks.
In a statement, Panhandle Health District officials reminded people not to handle bats and to make sure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date.
Another bat in Coeur d’Alene and one in Spirit Lake also tested positive for rabies this spring.
One cat was exposed and is also under watch. Three people inside their home were possibly exposed to the disease while they were sleeping. The people underwent a series of five shots each to protect them from rabies.
Bats play a beneficial role in the environment, dispensing seeds, pollinating plants and eating insects. But about 5 percent of the bats tested in this area carry the rabies virus.
The health district provides free rabies testing if a person or pet was exposed. Anyone planning to bring a bat to the district for testing should first call (208) 415-5220.