Rabies confirmed in sick bat found in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) — A bat found in Portsmouth earlier this week has tested positive for rabies, state public health officials said Thursday.

The brown bat, which appeared ill, was found last Saturday and several people approached it to take a look, the Rhode Island Department of Health said in a statement.

The bat was taken to the department's laboratory and the positive rabies test was confirmed Wednesday.

Anyone who may have had contact with the bat, or whose pet had contact with the bat, is urged to contact the state health department as soon as possible.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system and if not treated, can lead to death.

People are also urged make sure all their pets are properly vaccinated against the disease.