Rabid bat found in downtown Boise

People and their pets should stay away from bats in the area.

BOISE, Idaho — A bat tested positive for rabies when it was found on July 26 on a sidewalk on Bannock Street in downtown Boise, across from Cecil D. Andrus Park.

Two other dead bats were seen in the same area the week before.

Central District Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are urging citizens to avoid contacts with any bats as well as their pets, since the virus can cause a fatal illness in both people and pets.

Most bats do not have rabies, but they are the species most often found to be rabid in Idaho, according to a news release by the CDH and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

“If you handled a bat in the downtown Boise area in the last week, it is important that you contact your primary care provider immediately to discuss the situation and determine if rabies shots are warranted,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Leslie Tengelsen. “Bat bites are extremely small and hard to see, so if there is any chance you handled a bat near the park, talk to your healthcare provider. If your pet picked up a bat near the park, even if currently vaccinated against rabies, talk to your veterinarian about getting your pet a rabies booster.”

If someone and their pet had contact with a bat in the area around that time, they are asked to call (208) 375-5211 to speak with a Central District Health epidemiologist. 

CHD also asks that people report dead or dying bats to Fish and Game, who will remove them and conduct additional testing for rabies.

This is the fourth bat this year to test positive for rabies in Idaho, the news release said. On average, 15 rabid bats are detected in Idaho each year.

To protect yourself and your pets from rabies: 

•    Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. Be very suspicious of any bat behaving oddly or found on the ground.

•    If you come into contact with a bat, seek medical attention. 

•    Save the bat in a container while using thick gloves or another method to transfer it into a container without touching it. 

•    Contact your public health district to arrange for rabies testing. 

•    Always vaccinate your pets, including cats. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.

•    Bat-proof your home or cabin and maintain tight-fitting screens on windows. Bats can enter through holes the size of a quarter. Typically, bat-proofing is best accomplished after most bats have migrated away in the fall.

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