Public Health - News

Posted on: August 11, 2017

A Bat Found Near Normandy Elementary School Tests Positive for Rabies

Bat

Jefferson County, CO — Another bat has tested positive for rabies in Jefferson County, Colorado. This one was found near Normandy Elementary School, 6750 S Kendall Blvd, Littleton, CO, 80128. People who may have come in contact with this bat or have had encounters with bats in the past are at risk of being exposed to rabies. These individuals should contact their medical provider as soon as possible to receive immediate medical treatment.

Bat rabies is on the rise in Jefferson County with seven bats testing positive for rabies in 2017. View data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/rabies-data\.

Rabies is a serious disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) officials advise that even what may seem as insignificant contact with a bat may still be sufficient to transmit the rabies virus. Rabies is spread most often through contact with bat saliva, as a result of bites or from exposure to cuts on the skin. In some instances, people may be unaware that they were bitten and may not see puncture wounds.

While only a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies, it is important to avoid close contact with them. The public should contact their local animal control if they find a dead bat or if they find a bat behaving strangely. Animal control will determine whether the bat needs to be collected and tested. If there is a possibility that the bat had contact with people or their pets — particularly within the home in bedrooms or other enclosed buildings — animal control will collect the specimen.

Steps to control and prevent rabies:
— Avoid contact with all stray and wild animals, including bats.
— Vaccinate all cats, dogs, ferrets and valuable livestock.
— Do not allow pets to roam free.
— Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
— If bitten or scratched by a bat or wild animal, like a skunk, fox or raccoon, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your health care provider.
— If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.

Resources:
— Wildlife Rabies and You (brochure)
— For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local animal control agency.
— For more information on rabies and prevention tips, please visit our website at http://jeffco.us/public-health/animal-borne-disease/rabies/, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s site at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/ or call the JCPH Animal-borne Disease Program at 303-271-5700.

Ashley Moore
Public Information Manager
303-239-7137
[email protected]

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