State veterinarian warns against human and pet contact with bats | TSLN.com

State veterinarian warns against human and pet contact with bats

Bat flying (Lyle's flying fox)

(SPARKS, Nev.) – To date this year, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed six positive rabies cases (all in bats) in Clark and Washoe Counties. Rabies is common in bats throughout Nevada, and bat activity tends to increase between the months of May and October.

"Always avoid direct contact with any bat, and never touch them without gloves," Dr. JJ Goicoechea, NDA state veterinarian, said. "Don't allow exposure to children or domestic animals."

Any bats, dead or alive, that may have been in contact with people or domestic animals should immediately be submitted to the Animal Disease Laboratory for testing and reported to county animal control and health authorities. Contact the lab before attempting to pick up a bat.

Even though rabies prevalence in Nevada's bat population is estimated at only one percent, the Animal Disease Laboratory confirms between 10 and 20 cases of bat rabies per year. To date, the lab has tested 61 bats, and six were positive for rabies (three in Clark County, and three in Washoe County).

In the state of Nevada, rabies vaccination is required for dogs, cats and ferrets. Companion animal owners are urged to have pets vaccinated against rabies and maintain a regular vaccination schedule. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated, as bats can enter and exit residences unnoticed.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages environmental stewardship that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. The NDA includes the five divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry.

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–Nevada Department of Agriculture