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Public Information Officer
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Press Release
August 4, 2009

Rabid Bat Found in Weber County, Two Youngsters Begin Treatment

Health officials say early medical attention saves lives if exposed to rabies

Weber-Morgan health officials are reminding residents to stay away from bats after two young girls were exposed to a rabid bat over the weekend.

The incident occurred Saturday as the two young girls were walking in the upper Ogden Valley, near the town of Liberty. One was bitten on the finger and the other was exposed while trying to stop the attack. Relatives were able to safely capture the bat, which later tested positive for rabies. The young girls, who are from out of state, are receiving a series of shots to prevent them from contracting the disease.

"Bats are nocturnal so for this to happen during the daytime is a sure sign that the bat was ill," says Weber-Morgan Health Director Gary House. "The safest and best advice is to avoid all physical contact with bats if possible."

"While this incident appears to be unprovoked, it tells us that we have rabies activity in our area," House says. “Residents need to be cautious of any animals, especially bats, that are acting aggressively."

According to CDC guidelines, early treatment is vital as the rabies virus which affects the neurological system is almost always fatal. The disease is transmitted when infected saliva is passed on through bites or scratches. Other routes of transmission include contamination of the mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

Skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes are also known to carry the disease in wildlife. Domestic animals, such as dogs and care, are most likely to contract the disease if they have been exposed to other rabid animals. Symptoms in animals include aggression, trouble walking and swallowing.

If you suspect an animal of carrying the rabies virus, contact the local office of the Division of Wildlife Resources in your area.

If you have been bitten or scratched, seek medical attention immediately.