Rabid bat confirmed in Rock County

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Frank Schultz
Monday, August 19, 2013

JANESVILLE—A dog from the Footville area recently brought home a dead bat. The dog's instinct proved valuable, because the bat has tested positive for rabies, the county health department announced Monday.

The dog's owner brought the bat to a veterinarian, who sent the bat to the state Laboratory of Hygiene for testing, said Karen Cain, Rock County public health officer.

The case is the 18th case of rabies in an animal statewide this year. It's the first in Rock County since 2011, Cain said.

Rabies is a fatal disease that animals can transfer to humans, usually by biting, but it can be treated successfully with immediate medical attention.

The rabid bat is a reminder to the public to be cautious, Cain said.

Raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes can carry rabies, but bats transmit most cases of human rabies in the United States.

Cain said that of Wisconsin's 30 confirmed cases of rabies in animals last year, 29 were in bats.

A nick from a rabid bat's tooth or claw could be enough to transmit the disease, according to a state health department news release.

No human was exposed to rabies in the recent bat incident, “as far as we know,” Cain said, and the dog's rabies vaccination was up to date. The dog is being quarantined as a precaution.


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