HELENA - Officials report that two bats that came in contact with domestic animals in Lewis & Clark County have tested positive for rabies.
Each of the rabid bats came in contact with domestic animals, but all the animals were current on their vaccines.
One bat was discovered on Harbor Lane and the other in East Helena on Monday. They were sent to a lab to be tested because it was believed they came in contact with cats and dogs.
Lewis & Clark County animal control officer Sue Hicks believes there has been a higher than typical incidence of bat reports and rabies cases than normal.
Call the health department at (406) 443.2584 for more information on bats and rabies.
The health department says that there is a "reasonable probability" of exposure if:
- A child is found handling a bat or reports that they handled a bat.
- An adult sees a bat fly near a child and the child reports that "it hit me."
- A person steps on a bat with bare feet.
- A bat flies into someone and touches bare skin.
- A person sleeps out in the open where a rabid bat has been found.
There is little probability of exposure when:
- Touching fur, wings, or legs of a live bat while looking at it.
- Touching something that a bat has touched.
- A bat brushes past someone, but they're certain no contact occurred.
Here are some ways to protect yourself and your family from being exposed to rabies:
- Never touch a bat. Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
- Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Keep wild animals out of your home. Secure doors and windows, cap chimneys with screens, and close off any openings in porches, basements, and attics.
- Make sure your pets are current on their rabies shots. An unvaccinated pet that's exposed to a rabid animal could become a threat to your family.
- Confine your animals to your property. Pets that are allowed to roam are at higher risk for rabies exposure and infection.