Wild bat found at Denver Zoo tests positive for rabies

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DENVER — A rabid bat was found at the Denver Zoo on Saturday, prompting a warning from the state public health agency.

A staff member noticed the bat behaving strangely in the area of the primate exhibit and captured it for observation, the zoo confirmed. When veterinarians recognized it had rabies, the animal was euthanized and sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for testing.

CDPHE confirmed that the bat was not part of the zoo’s collection, but a wild animal that had flown in. While some zoo visitors were in the same area as the bat, there were no reports of anyone making contact with it. CDPHE warned visitors to seek help if they had contact with a bat at the zoo that went unreported.

“Anyone who may have handled or touched a bat at the zoo, or learns their child had contact with a bat, should immediately contact the state health department at 303-692-2700, or their medical provider, to determine whether they should receive preventive therapy for rabies,” state public health veterinarian Dr. Jennifer House said.

“The safety of our visitors, employees and animals is our No. 1 priority,” Denver Zoo Director of Marketing and Communications Tiffany Barnhart said. “Our staff followed all protocols to ensure the safety of our guests. However, we want to take every precaution, and that’s why we are reaching out to folks who visited that day.”

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