Animal Disease Lab confirms rabid bat found in Elko school

NDA urges residents to report pet or human exposure to bats


Rebecca Allured
Public Information Officer
(ELKO, Nev.) - August 29, 2017

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Animal Disease Laboratory (ADL) has confirmed a bat in northeastern Nevada tested positive for rabies. The bat was submitted to the ADL by Grammar #2 Elementary School in Elko.

“Avoid direct contact with any bat, and never touch them without gloves,” Dr. JJ Goicoechea, NDA state veterinarian, said. “Don’t allow exposure to children or domestic animals.”

Any bats, dead or alive, that have been in contact with people or domestic animals should be submitted to the ADL for testing and reported to county animal control and health authorities.

Even though rabies virus prevalence in Nevada’s bat populations is low (estimated at approximately one percent), the ADL confirms between 10 and 20 cases of bat rabies per year, usually between the months of May and October. To date, the ADL has tested 60 bats in 2017, and four were positive for rabies.

Companion animal owners are urged to have all cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies and maintain a regular vaccination schedule. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated as bats can enter and exit residences without notice.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages environmental stewardship that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. The NDA includes the five divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry.