Two bats found this week in Salt Lake County have tested positive for rabies. The Salt Lake County Health Department is urging anyone who made contact with a bat this week to call the department to be evaluated.
The bats were found Aug. 26 near 1000 West and 6970 South in Midvale, and Aug. 29 at Smith Fields Park, 13390 S. 300 East in Draper.
In a statement released Friday, the department recommended that the two people who came into contact with the bat in Midvale receive rabies prevention medicine. No others have been identified as being exposed to bats in Midvale.
No exposures have been confirmed for the bat in Draper, but Salt Lake health officials urged parents whose children frequent Smith Fields Park to ask their kids about whether they've encountered bats.
The department offered these guidelines to anyone who encounters a bat:
Don't touch it or try to catch it.
Don't hurt it.
Keep children and pets away.
Healthy bats tend to avoid people, and are not typically a threat when they are hanging upside down from trees or buildings, health officials said.
But bats with rabies can behave unusually, such as coming closer to humans or spending more time on the ground. "They may also be weak, dehydrated or unable to fly, making them more approachable than usual," the department said in their statement.
Health officials urged people to avoid contact with all wild animals because of the risk of rabies, and to make sure pets are updated on their vaccinations in case of a wild animal encounter.
"Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is considered 100% fatal," according to the statement.
This follows the department's statement released June 1 reporting that a rabid bat had been found in Salt Lake City, and a similar report from the TriCounty Health Department earlier that week saying a possibly diseased bat had been spotted at Dinosaur National Monument on or around May 28.
Hundreds of bats were also removed from Highland High School in Salt Lake City last week.
The Salt Lake County Health Department can be reached at 385-468-4222.