PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health issued a warning Thursday that a rabid bat was discovered in Portsmouth last weekend.
The bat appeared to be sick when it was found Saturday morning at the intersection of Massachusetts Boulevard and Anthony Road, according to Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the health department.
The bat was sent to the state health laboratories where it tested positive for rabies.
Wendelken noted that all dogs, cats and ferrets are required by state law to be vaccinated against rabies.
If you or a pet may have had direct contact with the bat, immediately call the Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology at (401) 222-2577 (Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) or (401) 276-8046 after hours for treatment guidance.
Officials offered pet owners the following tips for preventing rabies:
- Make sure all dogs, cats, and ferrets are up to date on rabies vaccination.
- Avoid all contact with and do not feed stray or free-roaming domestic animals.
- Avoid all contact with and do not feed wild animals.
- Do not feed your animals outdoors, as this will attract other animals. This is especially dangerous when feeding large numbers of free-roaming cats.
- Protect your pets by always maintaining control; walk dogs on a leash or let them play in a fenced yard, and do not let pets wander unsupervised.
- Report all animal bites to your city/town’s animal control officer.
- Securely cover all garbage cans so wild animals cannot scavenge for food.