A bat in Flathead County that had human contact tested positive for rabies the week of August 4.  

Flathead City-County Health Department says they are noticing an increase in the number of people interacting with bats and skunks which can both transmit rabies.  

According to ABC Fox Montana, not all bats and skunks carry rabies, and most are healthy, but it is important for people to know the steps to take if they come in contact with a potentially rabid animal.  

Flathead City-County Health Department says if the animal is not available for testing and the person was bitten, scratched or had direct contact, it is considered a rabies exposure and appropriate follow-up should be completed.  

In the animal is captured for testing, the brain and head must be intact and refrigerated but not frozen.  

The FCCHD reminds people of the following tips to prevent rabies:  

  • Do not feed or handle wild animals, especially bats.  Teach children never to touch wild animals or handle bats, even dead ones.  Ask children to tell an adult if they see or find a bat. 

  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats against rabies.  Cats are particularly susceptible to rabies exposure due to a higher risk of interaction with wild animals.  All dogs and cats are required to have a current rabies certificate in Flathead County.  

  • Bat-proof your house.  Place screens on all windows, doors and chimneys to prevent bats from entering.  Prevent bats from roosting in attics or buildings by covering outside entry points.  However, to avoid trapping any young bats who will die or try to make their way into your rooms, seal the openings permanently after August or in the fall after the bats have left for the season. 

  • Watch for abnormal wild animal behavior.  Most wild animals avoid humans and seeing skunks and bats during the daytime is rare.  If you see an animal acting strangely, leave it alone and contact law enforcement or animal control if you think it may pose a danger. 

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