ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An apparently ill bat reported by a concerned citizen has tested positive for rabies.
A city employee collected the bat at the Albuquerque BioPark Heritage Farm after the citizen said it was behaving erratically. The New Mexico Department of Health Scientific Laboratory Division confirmed the diagnosis.
The Heritage Farm is near the Rio Grande bosque north of Central Avenue NW.
Neither the citizen nor the employee were bitten or otherwise exposed to the disease, which is nearly always fatal if vaccine is not administered soon after exposure.
"Bats infected with rabies are reported regularly from all areas of the city," a statement released by the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department said. "The prevalence of rabies in bats is lower than commonly believed. However, exposure to rabies is possible, and the public is encouraged to avoid handling bats or other wildlife, and to train children to follow the same precautions."
The city warns against approaching unfamiliar or wild animals and to report sick or dead wild animals. Pets should be leashed and vaccinated.
Any bites or scratches should be wash immediately, and the pet or animal confined if possible and reported to animal control. A health care provider also should be contacted immediately.
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