First rabid bat of the season confirmed by health officials

Jun 17, 2021, 7:57 PM
(Photo: Paul Nelson)...
(Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The Utah Department of Health confirms they have found the first rabid bat of the season.  And they are reminding Utahns that, though rabies in humans is very rare, people still need to keep their distance from these animals. 

This particular bat was found dead in a family’s back yard in Salt Lake County, showing that bats can be a lot closer to urban areas than people may assume.

“The reason they reached out was potential exposure to a pet,” said epidemiologist Hannah Rettler. 

A rabid bat can bring trouble to pets

Infected pets are their biggest concern since pets can interact with other potentially infected animals like raccoons, foxes, or skunks. Even if a dog or cat has been vaccinated against rabies, Rettler said every exposed animal will have to be quarantined and observed for a period of time.  If a pet hasn’t had its rabies shots, the quarantine will last a lot longer.

(File photo)

For animals that have never been vaccinated, a four-month isolation is going to be required.  So, this is something that can be totally devastating for the family and really hard for the pet,” Rettler says.

If a human is infected by a rabid bat, they likely wouldn’t know it for a few weeks, if not months.  Rettler said a bat’s teeth and claws are so small, a person might not even feel the bite or scratch that infects them. That’s why people need to report any exposure to bats as soon as possible. 

“There’s no treatment once symptoms develop and once you have rabies in your system.  So, the post-exposure prophylaxis is preventing rabies from developing,” he said.

Symptoms of rabies

Early symptoms may present like the flu, but Rettler said they’ll progress to anxiety, confusion, abnormal behavior and delirium.  She said if someone waits until they feel symptoms, it’s already too late. 

“It (rabies) is nearly 100% fatal in humans,” said Rettler.

Officials say it’s impossible for someone to tell if an animal is rabid just by looking.  However, some signs include animals becoming more aggressive, foaming at the mouth and having no interest in food or water.  Rabid bats have been known to fly during the day and to rest on the ground. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


working from home...
Dale Spaulding

Is illness or poor air quality causing that cough?

Inversion can impact a person's health. Is the bad air the cause for people coughing are they catching regular illnesses?
13 hours ago
A woman wearing white sitting in front of a light box...
Michelle Lee

Winter blues: light therapy and lifestyle changes can help

SALT LAKE CITY – With the chilly weather and the shorter days, many people are prone to experience the winter blues. In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Jason Hunziker from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute about ways people can overcome the winter blues. Seasonal depression […]
2 days ago
A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
4 days ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
4 days ago
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a recall for mil...
Simone Seikaly

Check your pantry, a Conagra canned meat recall may affect you

Millions of pounds of canned meat and poultry products (mainly Vienna sausages) are involved in the Conagra recall.
4 days ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
First rabid bat of the season confirmed by health officials