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WSVL recently performed rabies testing on a bat that was found in a child’s bed. The bat tested positive for the rabies virus, which can spread to humans from a bite or scratch. The bats most commonly found in Wyoming are little brown bats, and are very small. The bats weigh less than one ounce when fully grown, so bites or scratches from these tiny bats often go unnoticed. If there is potential human contact with a bat, especially within your home or other building, it should be submitted for rabies testing. If you find a bat in your home, call the local animal control for information about safely capturing and packaging it for testing. You can also call the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory at 307-766-9925 for more information about submission and testing. For public health information such as exposure risk and need for post-exposure vaccination contact the Wyoming Department of Health, 307-777-5825. Due to the quick thinking of the child’s parents by saving the bat and submitting it for testing to WSVL, another rabies related death was prevented.
The Wyoming Department of Health website has information on rabies including information for health care providers, veterinarians and teachers.
The CDC reports that rabies in humans is rare in the United States. There are usually only one or two human cases per year. But the most common source of human rabies in the United States is bats. More information about bats and rabies can be found on the CDC website.
For shipping we recommend placing the whole bat or head of the animal in two zip lock bags in an insulated box with ample ice packs. Please Refer to our information on Packing and Shipping Samples.
Bats are smaller than they look because of the large wings. The most common bat in Wyoming, the little brown bat, weighs on average less than half an ounce. The tiny head of the bat is easily crushed, and the brain can quickly dry out if not refrigerated and kept in a tightly sealed container. We recommend that the bat be safely captured as recommended by the CDC.