PUEBLO, Colo. — A bat found in Pueblo has tested positive for rabies, according to the health department.
This is the first bat to test positive for the disease in Pueblo this year. Several skunks have tested positive for rabies.
Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. It can also be transmitted if the infected animal’s saliva gets into a cut or break in the skin, or through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Rabies is fatal once symptoms begin, according to the health department. Symptoms of rabies include fever, agitation, abnormal behavior, seizures, and paralysis.
If a bat comes into contact with humans or pets, or is found in a home, it must be tested for rabies, according to the health department. Since bat teeth are very small and sharp, a bite wound may not be visible.
Anyone who finds a bat in their home or on their property is advised to leave the area and move pets away from the bat. Then call the Pueblo health department at 719-583-4998.
The health department offered the following tips for avoiding exposure to rabies:
- Never touch a bat or any other wild animal.
- If you are bitten by a bat or other wild animal, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water and then contact both your physician and the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.
- 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.
- If your pet has been exposed to wildlife, contact your veterinarian and report the incident to the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.
- Protect your dog from wildlife by walking your dog on a leash.