Released by George T. Roberts, Jr. with the Northeast Texas Public Health District:
On Monday September 21, 2009 the Texas Department of State Health Service advised the Northeast Texas Public Health District that a bat submitted for analysis tested positive for rabies. The bat was found in the 16000 block of CR 178 Tyler TX 75708. When a bat is still enough to be captured it is almost always sick or injured. It is critical not to touch the bat. The known individuals with possible exposure have been identified and addressed.
Citizens are advised not to handle bats, skunks, raccoons, or other wild animals. It is important for children to tell their parents of any contact with wild animals or any sick animals. Any one who knows of a person being bitten by an animal must report the bite incident to the Smith County Rabies Control Authority for proper investigation.
This is the sixteenth (16th) laboratory confirmed case of rabies in Smith County. This makes seven (7) bats found in the City of Tyler and nine (9) reported in Smith County.
Smith County Rabies Control Authority advises all citizens to confirm that their dogs and cats are currently vaccinated for rabies. City of Tyler Ordinance and Smith County Ordinance require annual rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. Preventive immunization for rabies is the only effective defense against this always fatal disease.