Rabid bat found in Coalville
A bat found in the Coalville area in July tested positive for rabies, health officials say.
A North Summit family found the rabid bat in their dog’s mouth, said Dr. Kate Bjordahl, a veterinarian at White Pine Veterinary Clinic in the Snyderville Basin.
"The bat was found in the dog’s mouth on July 9," Bjordahl said in a telephone interview. "They had multiple dogs that came in contact with this bat."
She said she found out about four days later that the bat had tested positive for rabies.
Since then three of the family’s dogs, which had possibly made contact with the rabid bat, have been euthanized because rabies vaccines for the pets were not current, Summit County Animal Control Director Bob Bates said.
The dogs that were put down later tested negative for rabies, Bates added.
"They were euthanized and they were sent down to the state," he said. "That is the only way you can test for rabies. They have to test the brain material."
The rabies vaccine for a fourth dog was up to date, Bates said.
"We are now in the process of observing it for 45 days to make sure it does not get sick," Bates said.
He said several bats in Summit County have tested positive for rabies in the past few years.
"But this has been the most significant exposure people have had to a rabid bat since I have been here," Bates said. "Rabies is a real dangerous situation There have been very few who have been exposed who have lived."
According to the Summit County Health Department, eight people in the Coalville area who lived with the dogs that encountered the rabid bat are receiving rabies shots.
"Everyone who was in contact with the dogs’ saliva decided to do it," said Jean Paskett, a Summit County public health nurse.
Rabid animals usually transmit the neurological disease when they bite, she explained.
Nobody touched the rabid bat. But a child in the home whose face was licked by a dog was likely at the greatest risk, Paskett said.
The rabies vaccines consist of three shots, which are administered in the arm.
"They are all doing well," Paskett said about the family receiving the vaccinations. "They have all received their second doses."
Bats are one of the major carriers of rabies in Summit County. But people should stay away from all wild animals to avoid contracting the illness.
"Bats, raccoons, skunks they’re all notorious for carrying rabies," Paskett said. "If they’re a wild animal, stay away. Don’t touch them. Don’t play with them. Don’t provoke them."
Meanwhile, Bjordahl stressed that pet owners should keep rabies vaccinations current for their cats and dogs.
"Responsible care includes keeping your vaccines up to date. It’s really important to keep pets vaccinated for not only their own protection but for the family’s protection," Bjordahl said. "Most people think that cats don’t need to be vaccinated and that’s not true."
For more information about rabies contact the Summit County Health Department, 435-615-3234.
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Gov. Cox announced that the state’s mask mandate in schools would end for the last week of classes. Park City School District officials strongly recommended that students continue to wear masks. South Summit officials anticipated they would not require masks for the final week.