IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A Bonneville County teenager is being treated after coming into contact with a rabid bat. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said the teen was expected to recover.
The 16 year old female found the bat at Civitan Park in Idaho Falls, Friday. Officials say she picked up the bat, put it in a hat and took the animal home. She then fed it pinapple and that's when the bat bit her index finger and she contracted rabies.
The bat tested positive for the rabies virus and the teen was given treatment right away. Health officials said because of her immediate action to get treatment she will be okay.
"Rabies is a fatal viral illness without proper medical management. People should call their health care providers promptly if they have been bitten or scratched by a bat," says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Deputy State Epidemiologist. "Medical therapy administered to people after an animal bite or other exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies. It is extremely important for people to avoid all bats and other wild animals, particularly if they appear sick or are acting aggressively or abnormally."
This is the first report of a rabid bat in Idaho this year. Most bats are harmless and do not carry rabies, but they are the only natural reservoir for the virus in Idaho. On average, 16 rabid bats are found in Idaho each year.