Wyoming Department of Health officials remind people to beware of wild animals that often carry rabies as the animals become more active with warmer weather.

Bats are especially prone to rabies in Wyoming, and skunks are also common rabies carriers.

“Many people do a good job of protecting their family pets from rabies, but don’t realize other animals can sometimes be a threat,” said Dr. Emily Curren, state public health veterinarian with WDH. “Rabies can infect any mammal, including humans.”

Curren says so far this year there have been seven confirmed rabies cases in skunks in Sheridan County. In 2023 there were 19 confirmed rabies cases in Wyoming. with 13 of those cases involving bats.

Both humans and animals can get rabies by being scratched or bitten by an infected animal. Unlike some other diseases, you can't get rabies by handling an animal or through blood, urine, or feces, according to the release. Pets can be immunized against the disease.

The release quotes Curren as saying that while rabies is fatal it is also preventable. "Anyone with potential exposure to a rabid animal should wash the wound thoroughly with warm water and soap, and seek medical advice about the need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment," Curren said.

The release offers the following tips for preventing rabies:

  • Don’t touch or feed wild or stray animals.
  • Treat animal bites with soap and water and contact a medical professional immediately.
  • People waking to find a bat in their room or a child’s room should contact a medical professional immediately.
  • Vaccinate dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and other selected livestock for rabies and keep vaccinations up-to-date.

For more information about rabies exposure in Wyoming, please visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-

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