A wild bat found dead in El Paso County has tested positive for rabies. It was discovered Monday afternoon near the sidewalk just outside the entrance of the Starsmore Discovery Center.
The El Paso County Department of Public Health reports that there is no reason to believe the bat came into contact with humans. If anyone did handle or touch the dead animal, or believes a child or pet did, you should call (719) 578-3220 or (719) 339-3230 after 4:30 p.m.
Rabies is a fatal disease that can be spread from an animal to a person by bite or scratch. There is medication available that will prevent infection for anyone who may have been exposed.
It is estimated that less than 1 percent of bats are infected with rabies.
To avoid exposure to rabies:
-Never touch a wild bat or any other wild animal. A healthy bat likely will not come near enough to be touched, so a bat that is slow, lying on the ground or that lands on a person could be showing signs of illness. If you can touch the animal, chances are it is sick. Children who find a bat should leave it where it is and tell an adult.
-Do not pick up a bat with your hands, even if you’re wearing gloves. Use a shovel and double trash bags.
-If you are bitten by a bat or if you suspect you’ve been exposed to its saliva, try to contain the bat without touching it, and contact your local animal control agency or health department so the bat can be tested.
-Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.
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