CALDWELL, Idaho -- Health officials in southwestern Idaho are warning residents to avoid contact with bats after reports of unusual daytime activity and increased numbers of bats testing positive for rabies.

David Loper with Southwest District Health says most bats are harmless, but it's best to avoid them if possible. Any bat that behaves abnormally is more likely to have rabies, including those that are active during the day, are unable to fly or are in a place where bats are not often seen.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of people and animals and is often fatal.

Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a bat should wash the affected area with soap and water and seek medical treatment. If you awake to find a bat in your room, you should consider yourself potentially exposed.

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