HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX)-Southern Idaho health officials say a bat came back positive for rabies this week and warned the public to be cautious. The South Central Public Health District said the bat had been caught in Blaine County and tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

Bats are the only animal in Idaho that naturally carry the disease, according to the Health District. Rabies can be fatal to both people and pets. “Bat bites are extremely small and hard to see. Any suspected exposure should be taken seriously as rabies is nearly always fatal,” said Tanis Maxwell, SCPHD Epidemiology Program Manager in a prepared statement. “If you have contact with a bat, or find one in your home while you were sleeping it’s important you contact your health care provider right away and ask about treatment.” The Health District said most bats don't carry rabies. However, officials said if you come across a bat, give it space. Try to avoid direct contact with the animal.

Only capture a bat if you think someone might have touched the animal. If you've been attacked by a bat get medical help fast and try and save the animal in a container, but don't touch it directly. The health district said it can test the animal, but don't bring it in alive. Health officials recommend pet owners vaccinate their dogs, cats and horses against rabies. For more information go to Idaho's rabies information site.

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