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Home News Rabies in a Bat from San Miguel County
Kenny Vigil
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Rabies in a Bat from San Miguel County

August 12, 2014 - Zoonotic Diseases - Disease

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division confirmed rabies in a bat from San Miguel County. A 3-year-old girl came in contact with the bat while it was alive on the ground. The young child is receiving rabies vaccination to prevent her from developing the fatal disease.

This is the first rabid animal reported in San Miguel County in 2014. Prior to this, the most recent bat that tested positive for rabies in San Miguel County was in 2012.

“Rabies is fatal in humans. If you have been exposed to a rabid animal, rabies can be prevented with a series of vaccinations,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward. “We want to remind everyone to avoid any animal that is on the ground. It could have rabies and pass it on to you.”

Everyone, especially children, should be reminded never to touch a bat. Bats or other wild animals behaving abnormally should be reported to local animal control authorities. This helps protect the community from being exposed to rabies or other dangerous diseases.

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

  • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.
  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.
  • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up to date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is minor.
  • Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home.

If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:

  • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Contact a healthcare provider immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to providers for consultation about rabies 24/7 at 1-833-796-8773.
  • Call the local animal control department to report the incident and provide the department with an accurate location and description of the animal.
  • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury to yourself or others if the animal is dangerous, and keep children away from all animals involved in such incidents.

For more information, visit the Rabies section of our website.

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