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Bat found near entryway to dog show tests positive for rabies

Posted on 08/19/2019
BatWeld County — A bat found on the ground at the entrance to a dog show at Island Grove Events Center in Greeley has tested positive for rabies. A concerned citizen noticed the bat at about 10:00 a.m. Aug. 15  and notified Greeley Animal Control. Animal Control picked up the bat at 421 N. 15th Ave. in Greeley. Laboratory testing confirmed the bat had rabies.

Public health officials are warning if anyone — including pets — had physical contact with the bat to contact the Weld County Health Department at (970) 304-6415. “Rabies is nearly 100% fatal if left untreated,” said Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “Contact the Health Department immediately if you or someone you know, touched or handled the bat.” Rabies can infect any wild animal, including foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and bats. “It’s important to note that not all bats have rabies. However, if a bat is acting strangely, such as lying on the ground, out during daylight hours, or acting aggressively, it may be sick,” Wallace said.

Health officials stress all domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Over the past several years, a variety of animal to human contacts have resulted in several dozen Weld County residents requiring the expensive rabies immune globulin for post-exposure treatment. There have been no human deaths related to rabies exposure in Weld County.

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system. Rabies causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and is nearly always fatal. It is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus also can be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch, or wound. If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately. Effective vaccination treatment is available to prevent rabies if started before symptoms appear.

To prevent exposure to rabies:
• Do not feed, touch, or handle any wild animals
• Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
• Spay or neuter pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in the neighborhood

Contact the Health Department at (970) 304-6415 for questions or if anyone had contact with the bat. For after-hours (outside normal business hours, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday), contact the Weld County Dispatch at (970) 350-9600 and select option 4.