Rabid Bat Found in Larimer County

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) has confirmed that a bat in Larimer County has tested positive for rabies. This is the first rabid animal found in Larimer County this year. The sick bat was found on a porch in a neighborhood near Drake and Timberline in Fort Collins on Thursday, April 25. The bat was captured by NOCO Humane Animal Protection & Control and later tested positive for rabies.

Rabies is spread primarily by saliva through the bite of a rabid animal. People that have been exposed to rabies must receive post-exposure medication to prevent becoming sick. Without quick treatment and once symptoms of rabies appear, there is no cure and the infection is nearly 100% fatal.

In Larimer County, rabies is most often found in bats, skunks, and raccoons, but can be found in other mammals as well. Health officials advise residents to avoid interacting with wild animals, even if they appear friendly.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that poses a significant risk to human health, and every year rabid animals are found in Larimer County.

“I cannot overstate the critical importance of preventing contact with wildlife and knowing what to do if contact does occur,” says Dr. Paul Mayer, Medical Officer with Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.

What to do if you encounter a bat in your home:

  • Safely confine the bat to a single room by closing all doors and windows.

  • Do not attempt to handle the bat, especially with bare hands.

  • To report the situation and get assistance with the safe removal of the animal, call NOCO Humane Animal Protection & Control at 970-226-3647, extension 7.

  • To determine whether post-exposure medication is necessary, contact the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment or seek medical attention immediately.

Ways to protect you and your family:

  • Do not feed or touch wildlife. Do not attempt to pick up or help a sick wild animal. Instead, call NOCO Humane Animal Protection & Control at 970-226-3647, extension 7 for guidance.

  • Teach children to observe wildlife from a distance and to tell an adult if there is a wild animal in the area or if they have been bitten or scratched by one.

  • Eliminate food sources for wild animals by not feeding pets outdoors, closing pet doors especially at night, and tightly closing garbage cans and feed bins.

  • Ensure that your pets, horses, and livestock are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations to avoid illness and lengthy quarantines.

Larimer County residents should call NOCO Humane Animal Protection & Control at 970-226-3647, extension #7, to report any encounter with a bat, skunk, or other wild animal. The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment works closely with NOCO Humane to facilitate testing animals for rabies and assessing the health risks to those who may have had contact with the animal. LCDHE also has a hotline residents can call at 970-498-6666 with questions.

For the latest information on rabies in Larimer County, including a map of the locations where rabid animals have been found, visit http://www.larimer.gov/rabies.

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