Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – A bat found in Adams County has tested positive for rabies, making it the first rabid bat discovered in the Southwest District Health (SWDH) jurisdiction this season. The bat was found inside of an Adams County home where it had contact with a cat. The cat has been vaccinated against rabies in the past and boostered following the encounter. Those who were staying at the home are being assessed for potential exposure.

Without timely medical intervention, rabies infection is virtually 100 percent fatal in people and animals. Medical therapy given to people soon after a possible rabies exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. In Idaho, rabid bats are typically reported between March and November. Last year, 14 bats tested positive for rabies statewide.

Bites are considered the primary way rabies is transmitted, but waking up in a room with a bat, without having a clear idea of the bat’s behavior during the night can also put people and pets at risk for rabies infection. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Bats are the only natural hosts for the virus in Idaho and should always be avoided. No area of the state is considered rabies-free.

The most common ways people may encounter a bat is when a pet finds a bat in the yard, brings one into the home or a bat enters a home through a small opening or open windows or doors. People may also wake up to find a bat in the room and cannot be sure they were bitten or not while they slept. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Specific steps for collecting a bat for testing can be found outlined in a video produced by The Idaho Department of Fish and Game: https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2017/06/i-found-bat-my-home-what-do-i-do

To protect yourself and your pets, SWDH offers the following tips:

  • Never touch a bat with your bare hands;
  • If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention;
  • Call your local public health district about testing a bat for rabies. If it is determined that you or your pet may be at risk of rabies, the bat can be tested for free through the state public health laboratory;
  • If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies;
  • Always vaccinate your pets for rabies, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home;
  • and Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.

For more information on bats and rabies, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies. To track the number of rabid bats in Idaho, visit: http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/RabiesInformation/tabid/176/Default.aspx

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Hells Canyon Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from “Big Bar” at the Hells Canyon water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Hells Canyon Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

No updates will be provided until DEQ testing reveals toxins are below the health standard. The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Brownlee Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from the water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Brownlee Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded 

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The epidemiologic disease investigation has been concluded for the probable case of monkeypox originally announced by Southwest District Health (SWDH) on July 29, 2022. Due to a laboratory error at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL), results for the Non Variola Orthopox (“monkeypox”) virus assay have been amended. Lab results have confirmed that, to date, there are zero (0) confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Southwest District Health region. The region Southwest District Health serves includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, respectively. 

Southwest District Health urges the community to stay current on monkeypox trends in our area and to take steps to prevent monkeypox from taking hold in our community. Through informed decision making, individuals and families can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading monkeypox.  

SWDH encourages anyone who is experiencing an unexplained skin rash with or without a fever to contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with others. If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Tell your doctor if in the month before developing symptoms: 

Anyone who is ill with these symptoms is encouraged to follow SWDH and their healthcare provider’s advice to help prevent the spread to others. 

For more information on monkeypox please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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