CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - If you're going to spend a lot of time outdoors, you need to be cautious around wildlife.
Just as people spend more time outdoors during the warmer months so do wild animals. Animals are more active causing the rabies virus to spread more rapidly.
"Take care of your animals just like you would take care of your children," said Vanessa Presley a public health nurse. The public health experts want people to realize that if you protect your pets you are also protecting your family from the virus.
According to Jane Wernsman, the director of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, a bat in rural Cape Girardeau County recently tested positive for rabies.
Anyone who has been bitten by an animal, particularly a stray dog, cat, or wild animal, should wash the wound with soap and water for about 10 to 15 minutes, according to Wernsman.
If you can do it without further injury, Wernsman said you should try to capture or confine the animal so it can be quarantined or tested for rabies.
It is important to make contact with a health care provider to determine if you should need any medical treatment and to be checked for rabies.
Wernsman said it is especially important to pay close attention to bites from bats because their small, needle-like teeth could result in an injury that goes unnoticed or ignored.