A bat in Portland having tested positive for rabies has prompted city officials to warn residents to stay away from wild animals.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of rabies in the bat, according to the City of Portland, Maine Tweet.
Rabies is defined as a contagious and fatal viral disease of dogs and other mammals that causes madness and convulsions, transmissible through the saliva to humans, for whom it can be fatal. Once in the human brain, the virus multiplies rapidly and causes severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord after which the person deteriorates rapidly and dies, according to healthline.com.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as 59,000 people worldwide die from rabies every year. All but one percent of the confirmed human deaths come from rabid dog bites, but in the United States, vaccinations have reduced the number of cases to only two or three a year.
Signs of rabies in animals include staggering, stumbling, over-friendliness or unprovoked aggressive behavior. Animals with advanced cases also foam at the mouth.
Anyone who sees a sick or rabid animal should call 911 or their local animal control officer immediately, police said.