A bat found in Tyler and submitted for analysis has tested positive for rabies, Northeast Texas Public Health District officials announced Wednesday.

The bat was found near the 7100 block of Cherryhill Drive. Known individuals and animals with possible exposure have been identified and addressed. This is the first laboratory-confirmed case of rabies in Tyler city limits this year.

Health officials said it is critical for people not to handle bats, skunks, raccoons or other wild animals. It is also important, they said, for children to tell parents of contact with wild animals or any sick animals.

Anyone who knows of a person being bitten by an animal must report the bite incident to the Smith County Rabies Control Authority for proper investigation.

Smith County Rabies Control Authority advises all residents to confirm that their dogs and cats are currently vaccinated for rabies.

City of Tyler Ordinance and Smith County Ordinance require annual rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. It is a Class C misdemeanor if owners fail to vaccinate their dog or cat by four months of age. Preventive immunization for rabies is the only effective defense against this always-fatal disease.

For more information on rabies control, contact City of Tyler Animal Control at 903-535-0045.