Rabid bat found in El Paso County

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The first rabid bat of 2017 in El Paso County has been found. The El Paso County Department of Public Health sent a release Friday stating a bat tested positive for rabies that was found at Quail Lake last Saturday morning.

The bat was on a dirt path that led to the west shore at Quail Lake on Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, fairly close to both water and a playground.

About 20 minutes after the bat was found, it was removed by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and taken to be tested.

While the public health department believes the risk of exposure is low, they are still warning residents that if they or any pets came in contact by touching the bat on Saturday, contact them at 719-578-3220.

If left untreated, rabies can be fatal. A human can be exposed from a bite or even small scratch from the infected animal. It can also be spread from saliva of an animal with rabies getting into an open wound, eyes, nose or mouth.

The department of public health released the following information on precautionary measures:

• Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
• When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
• Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
• Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
• Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
• If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region 719-473-1741.
• If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options 719-473-1741.
• Contact an animal-control specialist for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management

How to recognize sick wildlife:

• Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
• Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
• Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
• However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
• Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-227-5200.

So far in 2017, three animals have tested positive for rabies, which include two skunks just reported Monday. In 2016, there were a total of three cases for the entire year.