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Rabies alert from dead bat in apartments

Posted at 5:41 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 14:07:49-04
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Here's an important health alert. Rabies is confirmed in a dead bat found in a north side apartment complex.
The bat was at the Arches at Oracle complex on Oracle north of River Road.
Anyone who had contact with the bat should contact the health department.  
Health experts say people at the complex who did not have nothing to worry about but it pays to be cautious any time you find a dead animal.
Bats are a key part of Arizona's environment.  They pollinate plants and eat insects. 
But the bat found dead at the Arches of Oracle apartment was trouble. Lab tests confirmed it had rabies.
If you think a bite's required to get rabies you're mistaken.  Pima County Health Director Dr. Francisco Garcia says just touching a rabid animal alive or dead can be enough.
"We want to make sure as much as possible people do not come into direct contact especially with the saliva and bodily fluids of wildlife."
If you do see a dead animal, don't touch it.  It's not a bad idea to cover it with a box to mark it and isolate it so no one else can have contact either.  Then call Pima Animal Care and have the experts remove it safely.
Apartment management says the bat was found in a recreation area. They say they'll give all residents the Health Department's warning.
The Health Department wants to check anyone who had any contact with the bat. They may need rabies treatment to hold off a disease that could kill them. The Health Department says if you had no contact you have nothing to worry about.
You can encounter rabid animals plenty of places in Arizona.
Your pet is more likely to have rabies vaccinations than you are but there's still the chance they may grab a rabid animal and expose you in the process.  
Skunks often prompt rabies alerts too.  Health experts say if any wild animal is willing to come near you that's a sign it is sick so keep yourself and your pets clear of wild animals dead or alive.