Rabid Bat Found in Blaine County
HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX)-The first case of rabies in a bat has been reported in Southern Idaho. According to the South Central Public Health District (SCPHD), the bat was captured in Blaine County. Health officials warn that rabies can be deadly to people and pets, “It is so important you avoid coming in to contact with bats at any time. If you have direct contact with a bat, or find one in your home while you were sleeping it is important you contact your health care provider right away and ask about treatment," said Tanis Maxwell, SCPHD Epidemiology Program Manager in a statement. The health district advises not to handle a bat with bare hands and avoid them if possible. Cats, dogs, and horses should be vaccinated to protect them from rabid bats. SCPHD said people should contact the health district if they even suspect they've come in contact with a bat, or if a person was in a room sleeping with a bat inside, seek help from SCPHD and call 208-737-5912 or 208-737-5971. If possible, people should safely capture the bat without touching it, but do not take it into the health district office. In October of 2021 a Boise man died from rabies after a bat had gotten tangled in his clothing two months before. Health officials said the man didn't think he had been bitten and didn't seek help until he became ill. The last time a fatality was attributed to rabies in Idaho was back in the late 70s.
SCPHD provided the following tips to protect agains rabies:
· Do not touch a bat with your bare hands.
· If you’ve had any type of direct contact with a bat or found a bat in a room with someone who may have had contact with a bat and didn’t realize it (because they were sleeping, a child, intoxicated, etc.) safely capture the bat without touching it with your bare skin and contact your health care provider or local public health district for a risk assessment.
· Always vaccinate your pets, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.
· Bat-proof your home or cabin by following acceptable management practices. Contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for information on how to safely evict and exclude bats. Unless a public health threat exists (e.g., bats getting inside living spaces), the best time to evict and exclude bats from structures is from early September through mid-October—after bat maternity season and before bats go into hibernation.