EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — El Paso County Public Health has confirmed that a bat found in a home in Fountain Valley is positive for rabies. EPCPH noted this is the first rabid bat in the county in 2022.

“Rabies tends to be more common in the spring and summer months,” said Dr. Chris Urbina, medical director of El Paso County Public Health. “It’s important to know that there are several easy steps people can take to protect themselves and their pets from rabies. One of the best preventive actions you can take is to make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.” 

And, EPCPH said, bat bites can be difficult to detect because they may not leave a mark. If you find a bat in your house and are unsure how long it has been there, do not release, discard, or kill the bat.

Instead, contact EPCPH at (719) 578-3220.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death. It is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. 

You can report exposures through EPCPH’s bite report portal.

Preventive medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor immediately. Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. 

If you see a sick or diseased animal, please call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.