A bat discovered on the Fort Lewis College campus earlier this week tested positive for rabies.
Staff members of the Campbell Child & Family Center, a child care center on campus, found a bat on the ground outside the building Monday. Staff quarantined the area and reported the bat to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The bat was collected by CPW and sent to a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment lab, where it tested positive for rabies.
CPW contacted San Juan Basin Public Health about the incident and the possibility of exposure. An email about the infected bat was sent to the FLC community.
“At this point, we don’t have any reports of anyone coming into contact with the bat,” FLC spokesman Mitch Davis said Friday. “We sent out that message yesterday just to make sure if someone had that they took the right steps.”
This is the second bat that has tested positive for rabies in La Plata County in the past month. In July, an infected bat was caught by an outdoor cat, said Claire Ninde, spokeswoman for the health department.
Despite the previous cases, the health department does not see a large occurrence of human/bat interaction. Bats do not commonly interact with people or domestic animals and are tested for rabies only if an interaction occurs, she said.
While untreated rabies can be fatal, rabies in humans is rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said only 6 percent of tested bats actually have rabies. Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in Colorado, Ninde said.
The health department offers these tips for protection against rabies:
Do not touch live or dead wild animals. Keep doors and windows closed. Make sure window screens don’t have holes, and keep attics free of bats by making sure all vents are properly screened. Seek professional bat control if bats are in a building. Do not feed wildlife.People are urged to keep their pets and livestock current for rabies vaccination to protect them and their owners. Anyone who might have come into contact with the bat at FLC can call health department epidemiologist Rosalind Penney at 335-2001.