Idaho County bat tests positive for rabies | Environment
Another bat has tested positive for rabies in Idaho County. According to Public Health – Idaho North Central District, they received positive laboratory results for another infected bat. This is the 3rd rabid bat in Idaho County and the 4th overall within the North Central District this summer. It also represents the 21st rabid bat identified in the State of Idaho this summer.
From Public Health – Idaho North Central District: Rabies is a rare disease in humans; however, one or more fatal human cases do occur almost every year in the United States, predominantly from rabid bat exposures. Rabies is essentially 100% fatal; however, it is nearly always preventable by reducing exposures to wild and unvaccinated animals and medically managing animals and individuals who may have been exposed to rabid animals early after an exposure.
Rabies is caused by a virus that is spread from infected mammals through their saliva, usually through a bite or scratch. All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies infection. Wild animals are much more likely to carry rabies, especially bats in Idaho, but the bite of any wild animal should be considered a potential source of rabies unless proven otherwise. Animals with rabies typically act differently than healthy animals. Because rabies attacks the brain, changes in an animal’s behavior are likely and may include problems such as swallowing, increased drooling, aggression, and some wild animals may move more slowly or may act as if they are tame. Every year, Idaho averages more than 15 rabid bat reports.
Dogs, cats, ferrets and horses should all receive routine vaccinations for rabies. Rabies vaccines are of great value in protecting animals from contracting rabies. Please contact your veterinarian regarding rabies vaccinations. Vaccinating domestic animals not only protects them but also their owners, should pets be exposed to rabid animals.
People usually come in contact with bats through a pet bringing home a sick or dead bat, or by a bat entering their homes through small openings or open windows. People who wake up from sleeping and find a bat in their room may have had an exposure without realizing it; the teeth of a bat are very small and people are sometimes bitten in their sleep without feeling it. The bat should be tested for rabies if there is any question that an exposure may have occurred.