State confirms rabies in bat in southeast Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials have confirmed rabies in a bat in southeast Alaska.

The state health department said biologists on Prince of Wales Island last Sunday trapped several Keen's myotis bats, one of which was acting more aggressively and seemed possibly sick. It was euthanized and tested for rabies. The test came back positive Thursday.

The two prior cases of confirmed rabies in bats in Alaska were in 1993 and 2006, both in Southeast.

Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, says Alaska doesn't have a huge bat population. She says it is assumed there is bat rabies in southeast Alaska but the extent is not known.

She says the department wants to ensure anyone who may have been bitten by a bat doesn't discount their possible risk of exposure.

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