New Mexico Department of Health
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David Morgan
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Rabies Confirmed in 2 Bats from Albuquerque’s South Valley

June 4, 2014 - Zoonotic Diseases - Disease

Health Department urges parents to tell children not to handle wild animals and make sure pets are vaccinated

The New Mexico Department of Health and the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department announced today two bats from the South Valley of Albuquerque have tested positive for rabies in the last two weeks. The bats were tested at the Department’s Scientific Laboratory Division.

The most recent bat tested positive June 3rd and had been found crawling on a woman’s bare foot before she kicked it away. She will be receiving a series of vaccinations to prevent her from developing rabies.

“Rabies is fatal in humans, but if you have been exposed to a rabid animal, it can be prevented by vaccination.” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “We want to make sure that people are aware that wildlife, such as a bat on the ground, should be avoided as they could be carrying diseases.”

Children should be reminded that they should never touch a bat and that they should always report any bat exposures to their parents immediately.

“In New Mexico, bats, skunks and foxes are reservoirs for rabies and can transmit rabies to people, pets, livestock or other wild animals,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian with the department. “We urge everyone to vaccinate their pets and livestock against rabies; vaccination is one of the most effective public health tools we have to prevent humans from being exposed to rabies.”

“The City of Albuquerque can respond to reports of sick or dead wildlife, and in some cases will investigate possible disease. Citizens of Albuquerque can contact 311 to file a report,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna with the City of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department. “This helps to prevent the community from being exposed to dangerous illness like rabies, and also provides our public health staff with an idea of the prevalence of wildlife diseases.”

The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

For more information please visit the Rabies section of our website.

Media Contact

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