Bat Tests Positive for Rabies in Pueblo

A rabid bat has been found in Pueblo, according to officials with the Pueblo City - County Health Department. It's important that everyone protect themselves and their pets from wild animals that carry rabies.

The bat with rabies was found on the south side of town on Palmer Avenue.

Director for the health department, Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods says while rabies is most commonly found in bats, people and pets should avoid contact with skunks and other wild animals such as foxes or raccoons, since these animals may be rabid.

“People need to know that bats do carry rabies. When a bat is acting aggressively, lying on the ground, or out during the daylight hours it may be ill. Do not try to catch flying bats and do not handle bats,” described Dr. Nevin-Woods.

Health officials say bats often enter homes through open windows, or unscreened fireplaces, and are able to squeeze through narrow slits, cracks, or holes the size of a dime.

Unused chimneys are often selected by bats for summer roosts, and they may fall or crawl through the open damper into the house. Bats can appear and then seemingly disappear because they are deft at hiding, and crawling under doors, or slipping into a closet or behind furniture.

Dr. Nevin-Woods says locating and removing individual bats from living quarters can be difficult but is important. Individuals need to call an exterminator or animal control for assistance and advice.

“Household pets may come in contact with a rabid animal and the pet owner may not know about the encounter. Protect your pets against rabies with a simple and effective vaccination. Make sure all your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations,” affirmed Dr. Nevin-Woods. Do not leave pet food outside as it may attract wildlife, putting your pet at risk for rabies.

When a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, infant or toddler, or a person believes they have been bitten by a bat, contact animal control or the Health Department right away.

Do not throw away any bat that has been in contact with people or pets. Provide the bat to animal control or the Health Department. Call Pueblo Animal Control 544-3500: extension 4 or Pueblo City-County Health Department at 583-4323 for assistance.

The following are rabies prevention steps provided by the health department:

- Ensure that dogs, cats and ferrets are vaccinated properly against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Also, discuss vaccinating horses and other livestock with your veterinarian.

- Do not feed wild animals or allow your pets around them. Teach children to stay away from wild mammals. Do not keep pet food outside as that may attract wild animals.

- Protect all pets, particularly animals too young to be vaccinated, from contact with wild animals. Puppies and kittens can be vaccinated for rabies as early as four months old.

- Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by wild animals, such as skunks, bats, foxes or raccoons.

- If you or a family member has been bitten by a wild animal or a domestic animal unknown to you, contact your physician and Pueblo Animal Control without delay.

- If you see a wild animal during daylight hours acting abnormally, such as stumbling or acting overly aggressive, make sure you keep children and pets away from the animal and call the Division of Wildlife to report the location.

- To remove a dead wild animal on your property, do not touch the animal. Remove the carcass with a shovel or other tool, and double bag it for the trash.

- Take steps to bat proof your home.

As of July 6, 71 animals tested positive for rabies in Colorado, 15 were bats. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates their web site every Friday with rabies data. You can visit that web site by clicking on the link posted below this story.

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