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Utah authorities warn of rabid bats after an 8th tests positive

Photo courtesy Utah DWR

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials are warning anyone who comes into contact with bats to report that exposure right away, because of the risk of rabies.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food confirmed eight bats have tested positive for rabies this year to date.

In addition, state officials say that exposure may extend not just to people, but also to pets and other wildlife who may have come into contact with infected bats.

According to the department, signs of rabies in domesticated animals can include “obvious changes in normal behavior like aggression, attacking without provocation, foaming at the mouth, no interest in food or water, staggering, or paralysis.”

Among wild animals, department officials say watch for uncharacteristically tame behavior.

“Infected bats may be seen flying around during the daytime, resting on the ground, or may show no noticeable signs at all,” the department wrote in a news release.

Anyone who sees an animal with signs of rabies, or who thinks a pet or person may have been exposed, should contact their local health department or call 1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824). With bats, you should report the exposure whether you think the animal was rabid or not.

There is no treatment for rabies once symptoms start to appear, and it is always fatal. While most Americans realize dogs need rabies vaccinations, not everyone realizes the same is true for cats and horses. The Department of Agriculture and Food says cats are the most common domestic animal to test positive for rabies in the United States, usually after a family pet has been found playing with a dead bat.