2 rabid bats found in South Valley

Posted at: 06/04/2014 2:43 PM
Updated at: 06/04/2014 2:45 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

Photo: KOB File Photo

Two bats from the South Valley have tested positive for rabies in the last two weeks, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

The most recent bat tested positive on Tuesday. A woman found the bat crawling on her bare foot before she kicked it away. She will now receive a series of vaccinations to prevent her from developing rabies.

"Rabies is fatal in humans, but if you have been exposed to a rabid animal, it can be prevented by vaccination." Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward said.  "We want to make sure that people are aware that wildlife, such as a bat on the ground, should be avoided as they could be carrying diseases."

Children should be reminded that they should never touch a bat and that they should always report any bat exposures to their parents immediately.

"In New Mexico, bats, skunks and foxes are reservoirs for rabies and can transmit rabies to people, pets, livestock or other wild animals," said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian with the department. "We urge everyone to vaccinate their pets and livestock against rabies; vaccination is one of the most effective public health tools we have to prevent humans from being exposed to rabies."

The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies: