SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe -The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division has confirmed rabies in a bat from San Miguel County.
A 3-year-old girl came in contact with the bat while it was alive on the ground. the department said. The girl is receiving rabies vaccination to prevent her from developing the fatal disease.
This is the first rabid animal reported in San Miguel County in 2014, according to the Health Department. Prior to this, the most recent bat that tested positive for rabies in San Miguel County was in 2012.
Health Secretary Retta Ward issued a reminder that rabies in humans can be fatal and that those exposed to rabies should receive a series of vaccinations. “We want to remind everyone to avoid any animal that is on the ground,” Ward said.
No one should touch a bat andbats or any wild animals behaving abnormally should be reported to local animal control authorities, the Health Department said.
The Health Department issued these suggestions:
- Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.
- If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.
- Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up to date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is minor.
- Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home.
If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:
- Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.
- Contact a healthcare provider immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to providers for consultation about rabies 24/7/ at 505-827-0006.
- Call the local animal control department to report the incident and provide the department with an accurate location and description of the animal.
- Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury to yourself or others if the animal is dangerous, and keep children away from all animals involved in such incidents.