Central District Health: Dead bat in Boise tests positive for rabies

A dead bat found recently in a residential area of Southeast Boise tested positive for rabies, according to Central District Health Department.

It is the first bat to test positive for rabies in Idaho this year. There were 11 bats and one skunk that tested positive in the state last year.

“Bats are the main source of rabies exposures in Idaho, and every year we receive reports of rabid bats,” Sarah Correll, Central District Health Department (CDHD) epidemiologist said in the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s online blog. “We encourage parents to talk to their children about the importance of not touching bats or other wild animals.”

If left untreated, rabies infection is almost always fatal, state health officials say. If you’ve been scratched or bitten by a bat or other animal, wash the wounds immediately with soap and water – and seek medical attention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend.

Some tips health officials offer to stay safe:

•  Do not touch a bat with your bare hands.

•  If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention.

•  If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. You can wear leather gloves if you must pick it up with your hands. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies.

•  Always vaccinate your pets, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.

•  Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.