State warns of dangers posed by rabid bats

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin health officials are recognizing World Rabies Day by warning people about the dangers posed by bats.

While 55,000 people worldwide die from rabies every year, only three people have died in Wisconsin since 2000. In Wisconsin, rabid bats are the leading cause of rabies infections in humans. In the past five years, 128 cases of animal rabies have been diagnosed and all but six were rabid bats.

Rabies is spread to humans usually through a bite from a rabid animal.

In observance of World Rabies Day on Saturday, Wisconsin state health officer Dr. Henry Anderson reminded people that rabies can be prevented by avoiding exposure to it or by receiving preventative vaccinations.

Tips to minimize exposure to rabies include having pets vaccinated and staying away from wild animals.

AP-WF-09-28-13 1501GMT

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