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Home News Rabies Confirmed in Bat found at Walmart Supercenter in Albuquerque
Kenny Vigil
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Rabies Confirmed in Bat found at Walmart Supercenter in Albuquerque

June 4, 2015 - Zoonotic Diseases - Disease

People who had contact with the bat urged to call the Health Department

The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a bat found hanging from the basket of a motorized wheelchair at an Albuquerque Walmart has tested positive for rabies. The bat was found around 9:00 a.m. Tuesday while the customer was at the checkout counter at the Walmart Supercenter located at 10224 Coors Bypass NW, just northwest of Cottonwood Mall.  Another person who helped remove the bat from the cart was bitten and will be receiving a series of vaccinations to prevent them from developing rabies, which can be fatal.

“We would like anyone who may have touched this bat or handled it in any way to give us a call so we can interview them for possible exposure to rabies,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Just being near or in the vicinity of the bat is not an exposure.”

Anyone who handled or touched that bat should immediately call the Department of Health at 1-833-796-8773.

“In New Mexico, bats, skunks and foxes are reservoirs for rabies and they 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.”

“Within the city of Albuquerque, people are encouraged to report bats that may have bitten or been handled by someone, or bats that appear sick (lying on the ground or not moving when approached) to 311,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna of the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department. “People should wait for help rather than handling the bat themselves.”

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 (in Albuquerque, call 311 to file a report). 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.

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.
  • Call the local animal control department to report the incident and provide the department with an accurate description of the animal.
  • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.
  • Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident

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

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Rabia Confirmada en un Murciélago encontrado en el Super Centro Walmart de Albuquerque