The first two bats with confirmed rabies cases this season in Idaho were found in Bonneville and Payette counties, state officials announced Monday.
The rabid bat in Bonneville County, home to Idaho Falls in the eastern part of the state, was found by a vaccinated dog. The owner and dog may have been exposed and sought medical treatment. The rabid bat in Payette County, located along the Idaho-Oregon border about 56 miles from Boise, exposed one person, who sought treatment.
On average, officials detect 15 rabid bats each year in Idaho, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. Bats that come into contact with humans, pet or livestock should be tested for rabies, the release said.
“Rabies is a fatal viral illness if not treated with proper medical management. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Postexposure treatment administered to people after an animal bite or other exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian, said in a news release. “It is extremely important for people to avoid all bats and other wild animals, particularly if they appear sick or are acting aggressively or abnormally.”
Officials recommend people avoid touching bats without gloves, vaccinating pets and livestock, and contacting their local public health district about testing bats for rabies if needed.