As winter begins to give way to warmer weather, the Wyoming Department of Health has issued a warning about the ongoing threat posed by rabies., a deadly but preventable disease.
In Wyoming, bats and skunks are the main sources of the deadly disease and can spread it to people and pets through bites and scratches.
Dr. Emily Curren is the state public health veterinarian with Wyoming Department of Health, and she said there have been three confirmed rabies cases so far this year in the state.
Last year, there were 14 confirmed cases of animal rabies across Wyoming, including five in bats.
Curren said that bats are a particular concern because bat bites can be very tiny and not always visible She said that anyone who has direct contact with a bat or anyone sleeping in the same room where a bat is discovered should be assessed by a doctor or public health provider.
She also suggested that bats that encounter humans or are found in a sleeping area should be carefully captured if it can be done safely so that rabies testing can be performed.
Curren says you should not touch or feed wild or stray animals.
Treat animal bites with soap and water and contact a medical professional immediately.
People waking to find a bat in their room or a child’s room should contact a medical professional immediately.
Vaccinate dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and other selected livestock for rabies and keep vaccinations up-to-date.
For more information about rabies exposure in Wyoming, please visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/rabies/.
photo credit: Leandra Boodoo, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database