Health officials say a bat found in Ada County has tested positive for rabies. This marks the first rabid bat discovered in the county this season.
The bat was brought inside a home in the Eagle area by a family cat. Officials say the cat had contact with the infected bat, but the homeowner did not.
Rabies can be fatal in people and animals without proper and timely medical treatment.
"We have seen a recent uptick in calls and concerns from the public related to exposure to bats," said Sarah Correll, Epidemiologist with Central District Health Department. "It's important that parents talk to their kids about not touching wild animals. Also, people should have their pets vaccinated to protect them in case they interact with a rabid bat or other wild animal."
The CDHD reports that rabid bats are typically reported between March and November in Idaho. Last year, 20 bats tested positive for rabies in the state, and 11 of those were found in Ada County.
To protect yourself and your pets, CDHD offers the following tips:
• 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. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies;
• Always vaccinate your pets for rabies, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home; and
• Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.