SALT LAKE CITY — For anyone planning on interacting with bats in the area anytime soon, you might want to reconsider.
Rabies has been detected in bat populations in Salt Lake County, health officials said Friday.
County health officials said the disease is considered 100% fatal if it’s not treated before symptoms are presented.
The following are possible symptoms of rabies in humans:
- Slight or partial paralysis
- Increase in saliva, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
Rabies has recently been detected in bat populations in #SLCo. If you see a bat, do NOT touch it! If you've interacted with one in any way, call 385-468-4222 to be evaluated for preventive treatment. #Rabies#DontTouchThatBatpic.twitter.com/cJ6FjsMwTj— Salt Lake Health (@SaltLakeHealth) September 25, 2020
For obvious reasons, officials also advised residents not to touch any bats they might see.
Additionally, health experts said if a bat is spotted on the ground or in an “unusual place,” you should:
- Not touch it
- Keep children and pets away
- Report the bat’s location to your local animal control agency
Rabies, an infectious viral disease, is usually contracted in humans after they are bitten by an animal that is rabid.
According to health officials, it’s possible for someone to get rabies if infectious material — like saliva or brain matter — from an animal with rabies, comes into contact with a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound.
Humans cannot contract rabies from simply seeing a rabid animal; feces, blood and urine do not transmit the disease either, officials added.
This is not the first time bats in the area have tested positive for rabies.
In 2016, three bats tested positive for rabies in the span of just a few months — an uncommon occurrence as usually only three to four cases appear annually, a health expert said at the time.
Anyone who has recently touched a bat recently is asked to call 385-468-4222 for an evaluation and potential preventive treatment.