A Douglas County resident picked up a bat and was bitten, prompting a rabies warning from the Nevada Department of Agriculture Animal Disease Laboratory.
The state confirmed two cases of rabies, one in Douglas and another in Clark County.
“Bats are common throughout Nevada, with their activity increasing between May and October,” state agriculture officials said.
The Animal Disease Laboratory confirms 10-20 cases of bat rabies each year. While other species of wildlife can carry rabies, bats are the most common source of human and domestic animal transmission, making it important to keep pets vaccinated and ensure no contact is made with wildlife.
“Animals carrying rabies can only be confirmed through laboratory testing,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell. “It is important for all animal owners to be proactive and work with their veterinarians to keep animals up to date on vaccinations, to protect both the animals and their owners. Even if animals are indoor-only pets, they should still be vaccinated as it’s possible for bats to enter and exit residences unnoticed.”
In the state of Nevada, a current rabies vaccination is legally required for dogs, cats and ferrets, and are also available for certain species of livestock. Animal owners are urged to work with their veterinary health care provider to maintain a regular vaccination schedule for their animals.
“If you or your animals have had contact with any bats, contact your local healthcare professional or veterinary provider immediately,” said Animal Disease Lab supervisor Laura Morrow.
Any bats, dead or alive, that may have been in contact with people or domestic animals should be reported immediately. It is important that individuals contact the NDA Animal Disease Lab or their local animal control agency before attempting to pick up a bat. If an individual is asked to collect the bat for testing, they should carefully follow all instructions provided by the NDA or animal control agency including wearing heavy gloves to avoid potential bites.
Individuals can learn more about rabies and the proper steps to take in the case of a possible exposure on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/rabies, or through the Southern Nevada Health District or Washoe County Health Department.
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