Bat found in Hayden tests positive for rabies; health department confirms 1st local case since 2014
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A bat found on a property in Hayden has tested positive for rabies, according to Routt County Public Health.
It is the first animal to test positive for rabies in Routt County since 2014, according to Routt County Public Health Director Kari Ladrow. The bat carcass was submitted to the health department for testing and was confirmed last week to have rabies.
The health department is investigating all suspected exposures to the bat, Ladrow said.
“Rabies can be transmitted to humans through saliva, so it is important to have a heightened awareness and protect your animals and loved ones,” she said.
If an animal carcass is found or an animal is acting strangely, it is “critical to take precautions and report in a timely manner,” Ladrow said.
The rabies virus is spread to people from the saliva of infected animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and usually transmitted through a bite.
Bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks are the most common animals in the United States to transmit rabies. Unvaccinated humans who contract rabies nearly always succumb to the virus. Infected animals and pets can spread the virus by biting or scratching another animal or person.
All dogs and cats located in the city of Steamboat Springs and within Routt County are required by law to be licensed yearly, and that process includes providing proof of a current rabies vaccination.
Protect your pets:
• Stay up-to-date on rabies vaccinations
• Unvaccinated pets exposed to rabies could need to be quarantined or euthanized
• Leash pets while walking or hiking and keep them away from wild animals, dead or alive
• Keep pets inside at night
Call a veterinarian if a pet has been in contact with a wild animal
Protect your home:
• Animal-proof trashcans
• Lock lids and do not leave bags of garbage outside of cans
• Prune tree branches that overhang the roof
• Keep screens on windows and cover small openings, such as chimneys, furnace ducts and eaves
• If a bat is found inside a home, contact authorities immediately
Do not remove the bat yourself
Protect yourself and your family:
• Leave wild animals wild
• Do not rescue injured or sick wild animals
• Do not keep wild animals as pets
To report suspicious incidents, contact Routt County Animal Control at 970-879-1090.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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