A little girl playing in the water near Christopher Creek last Wednesday was bitten by a bat.
According to Animal Control officers, the girl spotted a dark object near the bank and picked it up thinking it was a rock.
"It was a bat, and it was still alive and bit her," said Rabies Control Officer Ty Goodman.
Officer Brad Scott said the girl's mother called Star Valley Veterinary Clinic, then took the bat to the clinic in a jar.
"They euthanized it, and Ty took it to the state lab in Phoenix," Scott said. By Thursday afternoon, officials received word that the bat was rabid.
"By 6 p.m., the little girl started on her rabies shots, and should be just fine," Goodman said.
The rabies virus is transmitted by bite or contact with saliva from a rabid animal to a fresh wound on the skin or to the mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes and nose. Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. Individuals exposed to a rabid animal must promptly receive post-exposure treatment to prevent rabies infection.
Health officials said that parents should caution their children about the dangers of touching, feeling, feeding or picking up wild animals --dead or alive --especially bats, foxes and skunks.
Most areas of the state are experiencing dry habitat conditions, which in turn means fewer food sources for animals and often dwindling water sources. That, in turn, means wild animals are coming into closer association with humans and human habitats from campgrounds.
If you see a sick or dead animal, or an animal acting strangely, report it to rabies control at 474-1210. If you or a family member are bitten by an animal, or come in contact with an animal's saliva, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water. Report the bite as soon as possible to rabies control.