NDA Animal Disease Lab confirms cases of rabies in Nevada bats

Vaccination and mitigating contact can protect animals and humans


Ciara Ressel
Public Information Officer I
Sparks, Nev. - July 13, 2020

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed seven positive rabies cases in bats in Clark and Washoe Counties. Rabies is most commonly found in bats, and bat activity tends to peak between the months of May and October throughout Nevada.

“Always avoid direct contact with bats and don’t allow children or domestic animals to come in contact with bats,” Laura Morrow, NDA Animal Disease Lab supervisor, said. “If contact is made with any bats, contact your local healthcare or veterinary provider immediately.”

Any bats, dead or alive, that may have been in contact with people or domestic animals should be reported immediately. It is important that individualscontact the NDA Animal Disease Lab or their local animal control agency before attempting to pick up a bat. If an individual is asked to collect the bat for testing, they should carefully follow all instructions provided by the agency including using heavy gloves to avoid potential bites.

The Animal Disease Laboratory confirms between 10 and 20 cases of bat rabies each year. To date in 2020, the lab has tested 179 animals, and seven were bats positive for rabies.

“Rabies is a fatal, but preventable disease,” said NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell. “It is important for all animal owners to work with their local veterinarians to keep animals up to date on vaccinations, which can help protect both the animals and their owners.”

In the state of Nevada, rabies vaccination is required for dogs, cats and ferrets. Companion animal owners are urged to have pets vaccinated against rabies and maintain a regular vaccination schedule. Indoor animals should still be vaccinated, as bats can enter and exit residences unnoticed.

About the Nevada Department of Agriculture

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The department has 150 dedicated employees providing services in its five divisions, Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition, and Plant Industry. The department’s $232 million budget facilitates regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.