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Two rabid bats found in separate Ada County homes

Flying bat. (Photo by Getty Images){p}{/p}{p}{/p}
Flying bat. (Photo by Getty Images)

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Bats that tested positive for rabies were found in two separate homes in Ada County.

These were the first rabid bats found in Idaho this year, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

“Rabies is a fatal viral illness without proper medical management. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat," said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen. “It is extremely important for people to avoid all bats and other wild animals, particularly if they appear sick or are acting aggressively or abnormally.”

Anyone exposed to rabies should seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is highly treatable with medical therapy.

No part of Idaho is considered rabies-free, and bats are the only natural carriers for the virus in the state. An average of 15 rabid bats are found in Idaho each year from all areas of the state.

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To protect yourself and your pets, the IDHW says:

  • Never touch a bat with your bare hands.
  • If you have had contact with a bat or wake up to find a bat in your room, seek medical advice immediately.
  • Call your local public health district about testing a bat for rabies. If it is determined that you or your pet may be at risk of rabies, the bat can be tested for free through the state public health laboratory.
  • If you must handle a bat, always wear thick gloves.
  • If the bat is alive, save it in a non-breakable container with small air holes.
  • If it is dead, the bat should be double-bagged and sealed in clear plastic bags.
  • Never put a live bat in a freezer to kill it.
  • Contact your local Idaho Department of Fish and Game office about bat-proofing your home. Maintain tight-fitting screens on windows.
  • Always vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses. Even indoor pets could be exposed to rabies if a bat gets into a home. Household pets and other animals can be exposed to the virus by playing with sick bats that can no longer fly normally.
  • Teach your children to avoid bats and to let an adult know if they find one.
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