PUEBLO, Colo. -- Two bats found in Pueblo County have tested positive for rabies, according to the Pueblo City-County Health Department.
These are the first bats to be confirmed with rabies in Pueblo County this year. However, rabies has been found in wild skunks, foxes, and bats throughout Pueblo County in the past.
Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Bat teeth are very small and sharp, and a wound from a bat bite may not be visible. Rabies also can be transmitted if the animal's saliva gets into a cut or break in the skin.
The health department offered the following tips for avoiding exposure to rabies:
- Never touch a bat or any other wild animal. Healthy skunks, raccoons and bats typically come out in the evening. If the animals are acting tame, especially in the day, they may be sick. Children who find wild animals should leave them where they are, not touch the wild animal, and tell an adult.
- Do not pick up a bat with your hands, even if you're wearing gloves. Use a shovel to place it in a bucket or coffee can if the bat must be moved prior to calling Pueblo Animal Services.
- If you are bitten by a bat or other wild animal, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water, then contact both your physician and the Pueblo City-County Health Department.
- Bats need to be tested for rabies if they come into contact with humans or pets, or if the bat is in your bedroom while you sleep. Immediately remove yourself and your pets away from the bat, and contact Pueblo Animal Services at 544-3005 press "0" or the Pueblo City-County Health Department at 583-4307.
- Keep your doors and windows covered with intact screens. Do not leave screenless doors or windows open in the evening.
- If assistance is needed with removing bat roosts from your home, contact a local pest control business who has experience with removing bats.
- Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies. Keep in mind that vaccines not administered by a licensed veterinarian are not considered valid vaccinations in the State of Colorado, including Pueblo County.