Bat found in Carson City tests positive for rabies

A bat in Carson City has tested positive for rabies, according to Carson City Health and Human Services, but there is no known human exposure to the bat.

The bat was picked up by Animal Services on Wednesday at the Stewart facility off Snyder Avenue, and sent to the animal disease lab in Washoe County, where it was tested, said Carson City Health and Human Services Director Marena Works.

"We can find them anywhere, but in this case someone reported that they found the bat in the middle of the day acting kind of weird. Fortunately, they didn't touch it," Works said.

Animal Services Supervisor Gail Radtke said another bat had been reported last month by a man washing his car, who said it was flying around in daylight.

"We went and picked that one up too, and it tested positive," Radtke said. "It's our policy to immediately euthanize any bat picked up."

Radtke said any bat found during the day could potentially be rabid, and even if someone finds a dead bat, they should report it.

Health and Human Services issued the following information:

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the central nervous system - brain and spinal cord.

People get rabies from the bite of an animal with rabies and can also be exposed if infected saliva or tissue containing rabies gets into a fresh wound - one that has bled within 24 hours - or the eyes, nose or mouth.

As temperatures in Northern Nevada begin to drop, the local bat population begins its annual migration to locations where food, primarily insects, remains plentiful.

Bats are nocturnal, and any bat that is active by day, is found in a place where bats are usually not seen or is unable to fly is far more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often the most easily approached, so it is best never to handle any bat.

Bats have small, sharp teeth that may not leave a visible puncture wound or noticeable pain at the bite site. It is possible to be bitten by a bat and not realize it. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice or attention if you awaken and there is a bat in your home or if you have had any physical contact with a bat.

If you think you have been bitten by a bat, wash the wound with soap and water for five minutes and seek medical attention immediately. If you think your pet or domestic animal has been bitten by a bat, contact Carson City Animal Services immediately.

The health department also urges the following precautions:

• Maintain current rabies vaccinations on all dogs and cats three months of age and older.

• Confine all pets or keep them on a leash.

• All people, especially children, should avoid sick or injured animals.

• All stray or wild animals should be avoided, particularly skunks and bats observed during the day.

• Report all bat bites or any physical contact with bats - with or without a bite - to Carson City Animal Services.


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