Officials confirmed that a bat in the Grand Canyon National Park did test positive for rabies. The bat was found in Phantom Ranch on Friday, August 31, 2018. While there is a bat population in the Grand Canyon, bats are nocturnal creatures. Usually, people do not see them. However, around the time of the finding, visitors revealed that they had seen more bats than normal. This is distressing, as animals out at the wrong time of the day is a clear indication of infection.
Grand Canyon officials have not cited a source for the disease but have confirmed that one bat was infected with rabies. The river is reported to have a higher concentration of bats. Visitors are urged to steer clear of bats that they see in the park.
Unfortunately, it is easy for an animal to pass rabies on to a human. Any contact with an infected animal’s saliva, such as from a scratch or a bite, can transmit the disease. Rabies can be deadly if it is not treated before the person becomes symptomatic.
Therefore, if people encounter a bat, at all, they are urged to seek medical treatment immediately. Hopefully, officials will be able to rectify the situation quickly. Yet, the amount and extent of infection is unknown. That is why it is important for visitors to take extra precautions.
People should always respect the natural wildlife in the park, as they are wild animals, acting on instinct alone. Plus, this is their home. However, in the event of a rabies outbreak, it is even more important that people take extra provisions. If a visitor witnesses an animal acting strange, inform a park official immediately.