Utah health officials warning residents after rabid bat found

Posted at 2:39 PM, Jun 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-30 16:43:28-04

HUNTSVILLE, Utah – Weber-Morgan health officials are warning Utahns after a bat found in Huntsville outside of Ogden has tested positive for rabies.

“The majority of our bats in our population are healthy and tend to keep to themselves,” Amy Carter said, communicable disease nurse with the Weber-Morgan Health Department. “However, if you see one in the daylight, or if it’s in a place where you or your pet can pick them up and play with them, there’s a good chance it is ill.”

Carter said residents should avoid touching wild animals.

According to Weber-Morgan health officials, rabies is a virus that has fatal consequences.

Officials said the virus spreads through exposure to the saliva of an infected animal.

In Utah, Carter said bats are the most common carrier of the rabies virus.

She said skunks, raccoons, foxes and unvaccinated cats and dogs can also carry the disease.

Bat bites and scratches, in particular, can be very small and difficult to see.

“The bat will need to be tested for rabies to determine any needed treatment for those who have been exposed,” Carter said. “Try to cover it with a heavy blanket or plastic container and call your local health department or local animal control agency.”

Health officials said those who have had direct skin contact or have been bitten or scratched by a bat should first wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, then follow up with a medical provider or local emergency room.

Click here to learn about bats and rabies from the CDC

If you have additional questions or have been bitten by an animal, contact:
Weber-Morgan Health Department, (801) 399-7250.
Division of Wildlife Resources, (801) 476-2740.
Or your local animal control agency through Weber County Dispatch, (801) 395-8221.