Bat Found in Downtown Rock Springs Tests Positive for Rabies

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ROCK SPRINGS — The City of Rock Springs is urging residents to take caution after discovering a rabies infected bat. What follows is a media release from the city and information on rabies infection prevention.

On September 1, 2019 a bat was found crawling around on the ground in the downtown area of the City of Rock Springs.  The bat was sent to the state vet lab for rabies testing and the bat did test positive for rabies. 

We are urging the public to make sure all your pets are vaccinated for rabies. If you see any bats crawling on the ground and not able to fly or out during the daytime please contact Rock Springs Animal Control at 352-1455 or Central Dispatch at 362-6575.

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RABIES IN WYOMING: Following a few recent incidents, Dr. Jean Stachon Sweetwater County Health Officer along with the Wyoming Department of Health officials are warning Wyoming residents to be cautious if they encounter bats because of rabies concerns. The department has been notified about the presence of bats in and around a number of homes, churches and other public areas. Bats are an important part of our ecosystem in Wyoming and can be beneficial for insect control. However, some bats may carry the rabies virus which can lead to infections of humans and other animals. Bats present a serious public health threat when they inhabit structures where humans live or congregate Rabies is nearly always a fatal disease in humans. However, it can be successfully prevented if treatment is started promptly after exposure. Transmission of rabies from bat to human may occur from bites, even if the bite is not recognized. Rabies can also be transmitted from scratches or other physical contact that results in a break of a person’s skin or mucous membrane exposure. Preventive treatment may be considered in the following situations: 

• If you have physical contact with a bat or have handled one, even if bite marks are not seen. 

• Waking up in room in which a bat is present 

• Presence of a bat around an unattended child. The Department of Health recommends that anyone who experiences direct, physical contact with a bat should immediately contact their healthcare provider or their local public health nursing office for help and further information. If possible, any bat that comes into contact with humans should be carefully captured so that rabies testing can be performed. Skunk and bat rabies are endemic to Wyoming but any mammal can become infected. Wyoming has had cats, cattle, horses and dogs (to just name a few) test positive for rabies over the years. 

Remember to follow these tips to prevent rabies in you and in your pets:

1) Vaccinate your pets against rabies. Vaccinating your pets can protect them from getting rabies if they come into contact with infected wildlife. This can prevent you and your family from being exposed to rabies as well. See your veterinarian for details.

2) If you are bitten by an animal you should: 

• Wash the wound thoroughly with warm water and soap. 

• Seek medical advice from a health care provider about your need for rabies post exposure prophylaxis treatment.

3) If you wake up and find a bat in your room or a child’s room, consult a health care provider to discuss your need for rabies post exposure treatment. Bat’s teeth are so small you may have been bitten and did not even know it. 

Questions: For questions about rabies, contact Dr. Karl Musgrave at 307-777-5825 or karl.musgrave@wyo.gov