Bat-born rabies outbreak in Puriscal restricted so far to farm animals

No one should go batty because bats are suspected of carrying  rabies in Puriscal.

So far the disease is restricted to  just one cow,  and animal health officials are on the case.

The health officials, from the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal, described the problem Friday and said that there are 65 cows and two horses on the farm where the stricken animal died. They attribute the disease to a rabid vampire bat.

The bats are being hunted and captured in the area, the  Mercedes Sur district of Puriscal.

Humans, of course, can get rabies, too, but the nocturnal bats are more likely to seek a meal from cows or other animals that are in pasture 24 hours a day.

The animal health agency has quarantined the farm with the possible infected animals and said adjacent farms are being checked. Many of the animals are protected through vaccination.

The animal health agency said it has made provisions with the Ministerio de Salud to provide vaccinations for humans who have been in contact with the exposed animals

Rabies, a virus, is fatal without aggressive treatment. The animal health agency said that farmers should avoid contact with any animals that seem to be infected and to bury any that die.

The appearance of rabies is not unusual in Costa Rica, and the  animal health agency and the health ministry have policies in place to handle any outbreak, they said.rabidbat04315

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