Sparks, Nev. - June 16, 2021
The Nevada Department of
Agriculture (NDA) Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed three cases of rabies
in bats—two in Clark County and one in Washoe County. Bats are common
throughout Nevada, with their activity increasing between May and October. While
other species of wildlife can carry rabies, bats are the most common source of
human and domestic animal transmission, making it important to keep pets vaccinated
and ensure no contact is made with wildlife.
“It’s important to ensure individuals and domestic animals
do not come in contact with bats,” Laura Morrow, NDA Animal Disease Lab
supervisor, said. “If you or your animals have had contact with any bats,
contact your local healthcare professional 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 NDA or animal control 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 2021, the Animal Disease Lab has
tested 25 bats, and three were positive for rabies.
“Rabies can only be confirmed through laboratory testing,” 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, to protect both the animals and their owners.”
In the state of Nevada, a rabies vaccination is required for
dogs, cats and ferrets. 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.
Individuals can learn more about rabies and the
proper steps to take with a possible exposure on the Center for Disease Control
and Prevention website at cdc.gov/rabies,
or through the Southern
Nevada Health District or Washoe
County Health Department.
About the Nevada Department of Agriculture
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.