ADA COUNTY — A bat tested positive for rabies after it was found Tuesday, July 26 on a sidewalk on Bannock Street, across from Cecil D. Andrus Park in downtown Boise. Reports suggest that two other dead bats had been seen in the same area last week. Tests confirming the rabies virus came back positive Wednesday, July 27.
The rabies virus can cause a fatal illness in both people and pets. Although most bats do not have rabies, they are the species most often found to be rabid in Idaho. Central District Health (CDH) and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare urge residents to avoid all contact with any bat.
“If you handled a bat in the downtown Boise area in the last week, it is important that you contact your primary care provider immediately to discuss the situation and determine if rabies shots are warranted,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Leslie Tengelsen. “Bat bites are extremely small and hard to see, so if there is any chance you handled a bat near the park, talk to your healthcare provider. If your pet picked up a bat near the park, even if currently vaccinated against rabies, talk to your veterinarian about getting your pet a rabies booster.”
If you or your pet did have an encounter with a bat on a sidewalk on Bannock Street across from the park, please also call (208) 375-5211 to speak with a Central District Health epidemiologist.
CDH and Health and Welfare urge residents to report additional dead or dying bats in the area to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game by calling (208) 465-8465. Fish and Game will remove them from the area and consider additional rabies testing.
This is the fourth bat this year to test positive for rabies in Idaho. Two others were reported in Bannock County and one in Madison County. On average 15 rabid bats are detected in Idaho each year.
To protect yourself and your pets from rabies:
- Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. Be very suspicious of any bat behaving oddly or found on the ground.
- If you come into contact with a bat, seek medical attention.
- Save the bat in a container while using thick gloves or another method to transfer it into a container without touching it.
- Contact your public health district to arrange for rabies testing.
- Always vaccinate your pets, including cats. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home.
- Bat-proof your home or cabin and maintain tight-fitting screens on windows. Bats can enter through holes the size of a quarter. Typically, bat-proofing is best accomplished after most bats have migrated away in the fall.
For more information on bats and rabies please visit:
- The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare rabies site here.
- Bat proofing the home, click here.
- Central District Health rabies site here.
Central District Health:
Zach Hill, Brand Strategist
208-830-2540 | email@example.com
Idaho Department of Fish & Game:
Brian Pearson, Regional Communications Manager
208-854-8959 | firstname.lastname@example.org