SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two bats on the campus of the Great Plains Zoo have tested positive for rabies.
The zoo said in a news release from the state Department of Health were found on Aug. 20 and removed from a structure near the farm. The bats were sent to be tested at the South Dakota State University Diagnostic Laboratory.
“Zoo animals, veterinary team members and designated animal care staff are routinely vaccinated against rabies. There is no concern of the staff who captured or handled the animals were infected, as they are vaccinated and wore proper PPE,” zoo veterinarian, Dr. Jenny Clementson, said in the release.
Individuals who may have had contact with bats should contact the South Dakota DOH at 1-800-592-1861, along with their medical provider.
Rabies is a fatal, but preventable viral disease, the DOH said. Rabies is contracted by exposure to a rabid animal, typically through a bite. Scratches and saliva contact with broken skin or mucus membranes are also possible routes of transmission. Prompt treatment following exposure can prevent rabies. Treatment includes administration of rabies immune globulin and a series of four doses of vaccine administered in the arm.
There have been 10 reported rabid animals through the end of July 2023 in the state, the DOH said. Those animals are eight bats, one skunk and one cow. Since 2013, 79 bats have tested positive for rabies in the state.
More information about rabies can be found on the DOH website.