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NDSU animal health experts warn of rabid bats

orth Dakota State University animal health experts are warning people to be on the lookout for rabid bats.

Fargo, ND - North Dakota State University animal health experts are warning people to be on the lookout for rabid bats.

“Recently, a number of bats have been submitted to the NDSU diagnostic lab for rabies testing,” said Neil Dyer, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. “One of six bats came up positive for the rabies virus.”

Being exposed to and infected with the rabies virus is very serious, and all mammals are susceptible, said Gerald Stokka, NDSU Extension Service livestock stewardship specialist and veterinarian.

“The virus has affinity for the nervous tissue of the body and results in a progressive encephalitis (brain) condition in infected animals,” he said.

The skunk is the primary carrier of this virus in the northern Great Plains, but bats also can be carriers in this area.

Abnormal behavior, such as an adult skunk or a bat out in the daylight hours or acting aggressively, is one indication an animal may have rabies.

Other indications a bat may have rabies are that it is unable to fly or sitting on the ground.

If you encounter bats demonstrating abnormal behavior, bring dead bats to the NDSU diagnostic laboratory for testing. Results should be available in 24 hours.

See NDSU’s “Rabies” publication at http://tinyurl.com/rabiesV1220 for more information.

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