A bat found on private property in southeast La Plata County tested positive for rabies, officials with the San Juan Basin Health Department announced Tuesday.
In a prepared statement, local health officials said so far this summer, seven bats have been tested for the highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, but only one came back positive.
The local health department also said seven months into 2016, nine people in Southwest Colorado have received rabies post-exposure treatment as a result of contact with wildlife.
“Any wild mammal, such as raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, or bat can have rabies and transmit it to humans through a bite,” the health department wrote in the news release.
San Juan Basin Health Department said residents should be aware bats can bite while people are sleeping, so anyone who has been present in a room with the animal should seek post-exposure treatment.
Officials for the department said not to touch any living or dead wild animal; keep your home “bat proof;” seek professional help if there’s an infestation; and do not feed wildlife.
The local health department also reminded residents to keep vaccinations for pets current, and to test animals if they may have come in contact with a bat or other animal that transmits rabies.