Posted: Jul 27, 2013 8:52 AM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - A third rabid bat has been found in Lewis & Clark County.
Two were found at the Holter Lake Campground several weeks ago; the third was discovered at the Fairgrounds park this week near the Army tank.
A puppy has been placed under quarantine and is being monitored for possible exposure to rabies.
The Lewis & Clark County Public Health Department says the report of the test findings came in from the state diagnostic lab in Bozeman.
Mike Henderson, a public health nurse with the county, said, "Our job is to figure out whether there was human exposure here. So an individual saw a little puppy with an object in its mouth which turned out to be a dead bat, and they submitted that dead bat to the state lab for analysis."
The Health Department has since printed posters to hang up in the Fairgrounds area warning the public of safety concerns if they come upon any animals that are acting unusual.
Rabies is transmitted through infected saliva via a bite, scratch or other break in the skin. Treatment involves a series of vaccinations that should begin as soon as possible after exposure.
People who had no direct contact with a bat are not at risk, but parents should check with their children to find out if they touched or played with a bat.
Pet ownders should also make sure their pets have current rabies vaccinations.
For more information on bats and rabies, call the health department at 443-2584.
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.