The state officials from Southeastern Idaho found two rabid bats this week. The second bat was found in Bannock County. There were four rabid animals found in total this year in the area, while these are the first ones to appear in Southeast Idaho since 2014.
In humans, the rabies is rare, but it can become fatal if it’s left untreated. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of an animal, more often after a scratch or a bite.
Health officials recommend not handling bats, either dead or alive. Pet owners are advised to verify that their animals have their rabies vaccine.
People should also be very careful if they see a bat out in the daytime. In case a person encounters a bat, they should be seeking medical attention immediately.
„Always vaccinate your pets, including dogs, cats, horses, and ferrets. Pets may encounter bats in the outdoors or in the home. If your dog or cat brings a dead bat home, collect it in a plastic bag without touching it and call your district health department for possible testing,” said the Idaho Public Health in the announcement.
As a measure of precaution, the bat should be kept in a container and presented to the medical authorities, in order for them to verify if the animal was infected and elaborate a correct treatment. The bat should be handled with a towel or with gloves.
Fatal cases of rabies had been caused by even insignificant encounters with animals. Thus, any approach should be treated seriously, and medical advice should be sought.
The teeth of the bat are very small. People can be bitten in their sleep without them being aware of what happened. The bat that approached a person that may have been in contact with the animal’s saliva should be brought to the doctors to analyze the virus.
The rabies virus affects the nervous system and can ultimately cause death. The early symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, but then they can evolve to insomnia, confusion, anxiety, hallucinations, hypersalivation, agitation, and fear of water. Death comes in a few days after the more severe symptoms.
The Southeast Idaho Public Health service had recommended homeowners to secure their homes against bats. The precaution is easier to be done during the fall when the bats are gone, but as the rabid bats continue to appear in the area, it’s better to start and do it right now.
In order to secure their homes or their cabin, the owners should verify the chimneys, loose screenings, roof peaks, dormer windows, or issues with the roof and cracks that could be used by the animals as a hideaway. Bats could enter into holes that are as big as a quarter.
There are around 15 rabid bats reported in Idaho. There are other animals that can carry rabies, such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes.
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