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Bat Carrying Rabies Found In Washoe County

Nevada Department of Agriculture

The first confirmed rabid bat has been identified in Washoe County and officials with the Nevada Department of Agriculture are encouraging residents to maintain pet vaccinations for this disease.

Dr. Michael Greenlee is Nevada's State Veterinarian. He says this rabies strain - that originates in bats - has been known to jump the species barrier into animals like skunks and foxes. 

"When they found it wildlife in Nevada, at least recently, it's also been that same strain. So it probably came from bats into the wildlife," Greenlee says.

He says although most of the bats they see test negative for rabies, contact between humans, pets and bats happens frequently because of where these animals can be found. 

"Usually in or around the home," Greenlee says.

The department usually confirms between six and 20 rabid bats between the months of May and October. Greenlee says pets who are current on all vaccinations have a very low chance of contracting the disease. 

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.