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Wood River Valley man comes in contact with rabid bat

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT) - For years people have been instinctively afraid of bats, while many species of bats are harmless to humans and eat mostly insects or fruit, some bats are carnivorous.

Last weekend a fisherman in the Wood River Valley noticed a bat flying around him erratically and he thought it flew away.

According to epidemiologist Stacie Benkula, “Once he packed up his gear and headed back to his truck, he noticed when he took off his life vest, that the bat was actually attached to the back of his life vest.

The fisherman was concerned that the bat might have rabies; he captured the bat and contained it safely, and then went to the emergency room where he began receiving medical treatment for possible exposure to rabies.

Stacie said, “The bat was sent to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Fish and Game sent it up to the Department of Health and Welfare state lab, and they went ahead and tested it.”

The test proved positive for rabies, but medical treatment for it is highly effective.

Idaho Health and Welfare says to protect yourself and your pets from rabies, don't touch bats or other animals that might have rabies with your bare hands.

Vaccinate your pets, including your horses and bat-proof your home by plugging all holes in your siding, and making sure your window screens fit tightly.

Stacie says, “Stay as far away as possible, especially if they're acting erratic. And if you do have a potential contact or exposure, that you would need to contact your primary care provider.”


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