Townsend's Big Earred Bat, Oregon, US

File photo. Photo Credit: BirdImages (iStock).

More than a dozen children played with a wild bat that tested positive for rabies, potentially exposing them to the deadly virus.

According to the Westminster Police Department, authorities were notified of about 16 children playing with an injured bat outside the Hidden Lake Apartments on Tuesday afternoon. An animal management officer responded to the scene of the apartments, located near West 68th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard, where someone had already taken the bat away from the group of children.

The bat was euthanized and taken to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) where it tested positive for rabies two days later.

Rabies is a serious disease affecting the nervous system that is normally transmitted from wildlife to humans through a bite or the infected animal's saliva. Without treatment, the disease is fatal.

The police department, CDPHE, and animal management officers returned to the area to help locate the children for a risk assessment. Flyers were also posted in the area.

As of Friday afternoon, it's unclear if any of the children were exposed to the deadly disease. 

Anybody with information regarding the children who were touching the bat has been asked to call the CDPHE at 303-692-2700.

Editor's Note: Never touch a bat with your bare hands. Respect wildlife by leaving them alone. If you encounter an animal that appears sick, injured, or in need of care, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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