News Release

Bat at Arches tested positive for rabies

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Date: August 24, 2023
Contact: Karen Garthwait, 435-719-2142

MOAB, Utah – A bat found outside of Arches National Park Visitor Center on August 18, 2023, has tested positive for rabies. In recent weeks, the park has received a few other reports of unusual bat behavior, including one reported bite.

Bats are essential to humans and our ecosystems. Less than 1% of bats in nature have rabies, but bats that act strangely or contact humans are up to 10 times more likely to have rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through saliva during a bite, scratch, or mucus membrane contact with an infected animal. Because bat bites and scratches can be small, any physical contact with a bat is considered a potential exposure. Rabies is very preventable in humans with proper medical care given shortly after an exposure to the rabies virus, but it’s almost always fatal if untreated before disease develops. 

Any park visitor who had physical contact with this or any bat should seek medical attention for potential exposure as soon as possible. They should also notify the NPS Office of Public Health of the encounter. Visitors whose pets may have had contact with a bat should discuss it with their veterinarian.

Park visitors are advised to observe all wildlife from a safe and respectful distance, and to never pick up or handle any wild animal.

Last updated: August 24, 2023

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