Bat found outside Colorado Springs convenience store tests positive for rabies

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A bat found outside an eastern Colorado Springs convenience store last month has tested positive for rabies, according to El Paso County Public Health. 

The bat was found under an ice machine outside the Alta convenience store on Palmer Park Boulevard just east of Academy Boulevard. Customers first spotted it on May 31. On Tuesday, the health department learned it may have been exposed to a customer and captured it for testing. The bat tested positive on Thursday. 

Anyone who may have touched the bat, or thinks their child or pet may have touched the bat, may be at risk for rabies and should call El Paso County Public Health immediately at 719-578-3220.

Rabies is fatal in humans if not treated. There are medications available that will prevent rabies infection. 

People who saw the bat or were in the area but did not touch the bat are not at risk. 

This is the first rabid bat to be found in El Paso County this year. The health department said 50 rabid skunks have been found in the county this year. A total of 28 rabid animals were found in the county in 2017. 

The health department offered the following tips for preventing the spread of rabies: 

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available. Don’t leave pet food outdoors.
  • If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and El Paso County Public Health at (719) 578-3220.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at (719) 473-1741 for options.
  • Contact an animal-control specialist for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home.

How to recognize sick wildlife:

  • Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans. 
  • Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
  • However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone.
  • Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

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