GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – A bat found along the Greeley Fourth of July parade route has tested positive for rabies, according to the Weld County Department of Public Health. Now they want to talk to anyone who may have seen the animal.

Animal control officers were called to pick up the bat at the intersection of 13th St. and 10th Ave. in downtown Greeley on July 4. Lab testing confirmed the bat had rabies.

“Rabies is nearly 100% fatal if left untreated,” said Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “Contact the health department immediately if you or someone you know, touched or handled the bat.”

Health officials stress that all domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.

Rabies causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and is nearly always fatal. It is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch or wound. If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately.

“It’s important to note that not all bats have rabies. However, if a bat is acting strangely, such as lying on the ground, out during daylight hours, or acting aggressively, it may be sick,” said Wallace.

To prevent exposure to rabies:
• Do not feed, touch or handle any wild animals
• Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
• Spay or neuter pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in the neighborhood

Contact the Health Department at (970) 304-6415 for questions or if anyone had contact with the bat. For after-hours, contact the Weld County Dispatch at (970) 350-9600 and select option 4.

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