COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

El Paso County Public Health is reporting its first rabid bat of the season.

The bat was found by three children near the intersection of Colorado Ave. and 30th St. in western Colorado Springs. The health department has recommended that two of the children be treated for rabies exposure as a precaution.

El Paso County Medical Director Dr. Bill Letson emphasizes the importance of teaching young people not to handle or go near wildlife, even when just trying to help.

On an annual basis, domestic animals exposed to rabies through interactions with wild animals are identified in El Paso County, and wild animals and unvaccinated pets have the potential to spread rabies to people. Public Health officials encourage people to be informed and take rabies prevention actions.

Rabies Prevention Actions:

· Vaccinate your pets and livestock regularly through a licensed veterinarian.
· Maintain control of your pets to reduce their exposure to wildlife.
· Make sure your pet is licensed at www.licensepet.com to get lost pets returned to you faster.
· Children should be taught to leave wildlife alone and to tell an adult if any animal bites or scratches them.
· Spay or neuter to decrease the number of stray animals. Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region offers low-cost spay and neutering services. Visit www.hsppr.org/sn for more information.
· Report stray or ill animals to animal control by calling the Pikes Peak Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at 719-473-1741.


How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:

· Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
· Sick or diseased animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
· Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets. However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
· Report sick or diseased wild animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) at (719) 227-5200.


El Paso County Rabies Data:

·  Last year there were 9 total cases of rabies in bats, fox and skunks in El Paso County.
·  Since 2010, rabies has been confirmed in 20 bats, 16 skunks and 7 foxes within El Paso County.

 
Rabies is a disease that can be spread through infected saliva from wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes to a person or pet by a bite or scratch, even if very small or barely noticeable.

If a wild animal allows people to get close to it that could be a sign that something is possibly wrong with it and it may be capable of transmitting disease. Feeding wild animals increases the likelihood they will return, become habituated to humans as a food source and thus increase the threat of human exposure to rabies.

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