Bat tested positive for rabies, alert issued in East Naples

A rabies alert was issued Thursday for a portion of Collier County, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The alert was issued for the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection of Bayshore Drive and Tamiami Trail East of a bat which tested positive for rabies, the health department said.

The bat was found on Jan. 10 outside a store at the Gulf Gate Plaza, the health department said. A man and a woman, approximately 50 to 70 years of age who may be visiting from Switzerland, took the bat to a local veterinary clinic.

The health department is hoping to identify the individuals to assess their rabies risk.

“Rabies is a disease of the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The virus is spread through saliva, and humans may become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal,” the health department said.

Anyone who has handled a bat found at the Gulf Gate Plaza is asked to call the health department at 239-252-8226 to be assessed for rabies.

The health department issued the following tips:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Collier County Domestic Animal Services at 239-252-7387.
  • Call Collier County Domestic Animal Services to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving pet food outside, or garbage cans open.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people and pets.
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