EAGLE RIVER (WAOW) – Two bats have tested positive for rabies in Vilas County, leading health officials to issue a warning Thursday on how to avoid getting the almost always fatal disease.
“This was unique because it was two different bats on two different sides of the county,” said Laurel Dreger, assistant public health director. “Two is a lot for all of a sudden at one time in the same week.”
The last time a bat was diagnosed with rabies in Vilas County was in 2011, she said. Just one had the disease.
One of the rabid bats this summer was discovered near Eagle River when a pet came home with it in its mouth, Dreger said. The other got into a room in a home in Presque Isle and was trapped.
James Kazmierczak of the state Health Department said seven bats have tested positive for rabies so far this summer in Wisconsin.
The Vilas County Health Department offered these tips to prevent rabies:
-Never handle wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks or foxes.
-If you wake up in a room with a bat present, seek medical advice. If possible trap the bat for testing.
-Wash animal bits thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
-Teach children never to approach unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
-Avoid leaving pet food or food scraps outside or on a porch to prevent attracting potential rabies carriers like skunks and raccoons.
-Keep vaccinations current for dogs, cats and ferrets.