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Rabies Virus -- What We All
Need to Know
A baby Little Brown Bat.
Recently we have had some excitement here in Kitsap County regarding
the rabies virus. A bat from Bainbridge Island was found to be positive
for rabies virus infection and two of the members of the family, which
had encountered this bat, were advised to undergo a series of anti-rabies
virus vaccine injections. That experience is not as horrible as many
of us grew up fearing! The treatments are simple and almost pain free.
These folks are doing fine and have had no side effects from their
However, since that case the Shelter has had many inquires in regard
to all sorts of circumstances and situations associated with encounters
with bats in our area. Below is some information that will assist
you in deciding how to react in various encounter situations.
For the most part when you see a bat at dusk or in the night flying and fluttering about with apparent abandon just stop and count your blessings that you have bats in your area working hard on your behalf! Each one of these amazing flying mammals is capable of catching and consuming upwards of 2000, yes I said two thousand, mosquitoes and other flying insects in one evening! As we begin to gear up for more serious mosquito control in our efforts to combat the emergence of the West Nile Virus we should keep in mind how badly we need these hardworking pest control agents! So please make no attempt to disturb the natural life cycle of the bats in and around your world. I encourage you to learn more about bats by visiting the following web-site: http://www.batcon.org
We hope that this information will help you to cope with your bat encounter with some confidence and comfort. If you still have unanswered questions call your local health department. If the health department is closed give us a call at West Sound Wildlife. (206-855-9057)
What you should
know about bats and rabies:
What you should do when
you encounter a bat:
- Bats are wild animals and normally avoid contact.
- Bats that can be approached on the ground or other exposed places
- Only a small number of bats are infected with the rabies virus.
- Rabies is a fatal disease if left untreated.
- Rabies is transmitted most frequently through the saliva of
an infected animal when it bites into the skin of a person or
other animal. However, since the rabies virus is found in the
saliva of bats, contact with anything that may have bat saliva
on it may potentially transmit rabies virus.
- People should never directly handle a bat due to risk of contacting
- Since bats are non-aggressive, you need only leave them alone
to be safe.
- Anyone bitten by a bat should call the Kitsap County Health
Department at: 360-337-5239 or your local public health authority.
Seek medical attention immediately.
If you encounter a bat, dead or alive, the most important thing to
remember is to NOT touch it.
If the bat is alive and near or on the ground where people or pets
may find it: Call the health department. (In Kitsap County: 360-337-5239)
If the bat is dead and located where curious children or pets may
find it: Wearing latex gloves, scoop the bat into a sealable container
such as a coffee can, cover and tape the container and dispose of
it in the trash. If you have any doubts regarding exposure place the
coffee can in a disposable cooler with plenty of ice or blocks of
frozen 'gel packs' around it to keep the bat well chilled but not
frozen, until you speak to someone at the health department.
If the bat is dead and there is no chance that people or other animals
will make contact with it: Leave the bat where it is.
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