A Fremont County woman has tested positive for the first confirmed human rabies case ever recorded in Wyoming.
Testing completed Friday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the rare case of rabies, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
"Across the United States, there are usually only one or two human cases in a year," WDH public health veterinarian Karl Musgrave said.
"While rabies is often found in Wyoming animals such as bats and skunks, this is the first confirmed human rabies case ever recorded in our state."
While not all details are available, the WDH says it appears the wo-man may have been exposed to the virus by a bat.
Bats are known carriers of the rabies virus in Wyoming.
The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through bites and virus-containing saliva.
Working with Fremont County Public Health and the Utah Department of Health, WDH representatives will follow up with po-tentially affected family members and health care workers in Lander and Salt Lake City to determine who should receive post-exposure treatment to help prevent development of the disease.
"Unfortunately, rabies is a serious, deadly condition once the illness develops," Musgrave said.
To help prevent rabies exposure, people should enjoy wildlife such as bats and skunks from a safe distance.
Animal bites should be treated with soap and water, and medical professionals should be contacted immediately after someone suffers a bite.
Anyone who finds a bat in a room should contact a medical professional immediately - bats have such small teeth that even unknown or minor contact with bats has led to rabies infection.
Never adopt wild animals or bring them into the home. Do not try to nurse sick or injured animals - call animal control for help. Tell city or county animal control departments about animals acting strangely.
Teach children not to approach unfamiliar dogs, cats or wildlife, even if the animals appear friendly.
Vaccinate dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and other selected livestock for rabies, and keep vaccinations up-to-date. Keep pets under supervision or on a leash to minimize contact with wild animals.
For more information call the WDH at 777-7656.