Rabid bat in downtown Boise

People and their pets should stay away from bats in the area.

BOISE, Idaho — A bat tested positive for rabies when it was found July 26 on a sidewalk on Bannock Street in downtown Boise, across from Cecil D. Andrus Park.

Two other dead bats were seen in the same area the previous week.

Central District Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness are urging citizens to avoid contact with bats as well as their pets, as the virus can cause fatal illness in people and pets.

Most bats do not have rabies, but they are the most commonly rabid species in Idaho, according to a press release from CDH and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

“If you handled a bat in downtown Boise in the past week, it is important that you contact your primary care provider immediately to discuss the situation and determine if rabies vaccines are warranted,” a said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian. “Bat bites are extremely small and hard to see, so if there’s any chance you’ve handled a bat near the park, talk to your healthcare provider. If your pet has caught a bat near the park, even if currently vaccinated against rabies, talk to your veterinarian about getting your pet a rabies booster.”

If anyone and their pet had contact with a bat in the area at this time, they are urged to call (208) 375-5211 to speak to a Central District Health epidemiologist.

CHD is also asking that people report dead or dying bats to Fish and Game, who will remove them and perform further testing for rabies.

This is the fourth bat this year to test positive for rabies in Idaho, according to the press release. On average, 15 rabid bats are detected each year in Idaho.

To protect yourself and your pets against rabies:

• Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. Be very suspicious of any bat that is behaving oddly or is on the ground.

• If you come into contact with a bat, seek medical attention.

• Store the bat in a container using heavy gloves or another method to transfer it to a container without touching it.

• Contact your public health district to arrange a rabies test.

• Always have your pets vaccinated, including cats. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or at home.

• Protect your home or cottage against bats and keep window screens snug. Bats can enter through quarter-sized holes. Generally, bat protection is best achieved after most bats have migrated in the fall.

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