Seven bats test positive for rabies in Utah

Bat with Rabies. (Photo: MGN)

(KUTV) For the seventh time this year a Utah bat has tested positive for rabies, according to the Utah Public Health Laboratory.

The UPHL warns that in addition to contact with wild animals, another route of exposure is via contact with pets or livestock that have had contact with potentially infected wildlife.

Signs of rabies include obvious changes in normal behavior like aggression, attacking without provocation, foaming at the mouth, no interest in food or water, staggering, or paralysis. Wild animals may act uncharacteristically tame.

Infected bats may be seen flying around during the daytime, or resting on the ground. It is also possible that bats display no noticeable signs of infection.

The UPHL asks that if you observe an animal exhibiting any of these signs, or think that a pet or person may have been exposed to a rabid animal, that you call 1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824) or your local health department.

They also ask that all human and animal exposures to bats be reported regardless of whether the bat appears to be rabid.

"If a person or pet is bitten by a bat," the UPHL says, "immediately wash the wound. If possible, the bat responsible for the bite should be captured while wearing leather gloves, and tested for rabies. Call your local animal control office or Utah Division of Wildlife Services to collect the bat. NEVER handle a bat with bare hands. The bat may have rabies and must be tested to determine whether the bite victim needs rabies vaccination."

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