Rabid bat confirmed in Cascade County

The Cascade County City-County Health Department confirmed that a bat has tested positive for rabies.

CCHD confirmed the rabies on Sept. 17, according to release.

The county’s last rabid animal, which was also a bat, was identified in August 2020.

Rabies is a fatal disease but preventative treatment for rabies is nearly 100 percent successful. The last identified human death from rabies in Montana occurred in 1997.

CCHD asks residents to follow these tips to prevent and appropriately respond to a rabies exposure:

  • Do not feed or handle wild animals, especially bats. Bats and skunks are the most likely carriers of the rabies virus in Montana and should be avoided. Bats are especially concerning because their teeth are so small that a bite may not be noticeable, and people are sometimes bitten in their sleep without knowing it.
  • Avoid animal bites from domestic animals. Do not approach unfamiliar animals, and always request the owner’s permission before petting an animal.
  • Do not attempt to help a sick or injured wild animal.
  • Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies. Rabies vaccinations are required by law, and all dogs and cats should have a current rabies certificate. Cats are especially susceptible to rabies.
  • Bat-proof your house. Put screens on all windows, doors, and chimneys to prevent bat entry. Visit our website at https://www.cascadecountymt.gov/313/Rabies-Prevention for information on safely catching a bat in your home.
  • Know what to do if there’s a bite. If someone is bitten by a domestic dog, cat, or ferret, the animal can be observed for signs of rabies, almost always avoiding the need for treatment. If an animal cannot be located, observed, or tested, a person may need to undergo a series of immunizations to prevent rabies. If you are bitten, call a healthcare provider or CCHD immediately.