FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017
Contact: Heather Warner, Public Health Programs Manager
Tel. (607) 832-5200 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bat Tests Positive for Rabies in Walton
A bat tested positive for rabies in the Town of Walton. This is the fourth animal in Delaware County to test positive for rabies in 2017. There was one human exposure and the individual is receiving rabies post exposure prophylaxis.
Once infected, rabies is a virus that has 100% fatality rate when left untreated, in mammals including humans. The vaccination of dogs, cats, ferrets and livestock is essential to protect animals against rabies. Bats carry rabies in their saliva and may transmit the disease through bites to humans and other animals. Most bats are healthy and can be helpful to humans by consuming insects, but some bats are infected with rabies. Prompt treatment following a bite or exposure can prevent rabies in humans.
Public Health recommends the following to prevent unnecessary bat encounters:
- When possible, prevent bats from entering outdoor living quarters and other occupied spaces. Consider “bat-proofing” your living space.
- Screens or mosquito netting can provide a useful barrier against direct bat contact.
- Teach children to never to handle live or dead bats, as well as any unfamiliar wild or domestic animals (even if they appear friendly). Tell them to report any contact or unusual animal behavior to an adult right away
Public Health recommends the following if you or your pet encounters a bat:
- First determine if a human, pet or livestock may have had contact with the bat.
- If contact occurred, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Seek medical attention and contact your local health department
- If you are uncertain or suspect of a person or pet was exposed to a bat, wear thick gloves and wait for it to land and cover the bat with a coffee can. Slide a piece of cardboard under the can trapping the bat. Tape the cardboard tightly to the can. Call the health department for further instructions.
- Bats should only be captured if there has been direct contact with a person or pet, or, if the bat was found in the room of someone who might have been exposed while sleeping or, found a bat in a room with an unattended child, or see a bat near an intoxicated person or mentally impaired person.
- Keep pets up to date with rabies vaccinations. If your pet has up to date rabies shots, then all that may be needed is a rabies booster shot within 5 days. Call your veterinarian.
- Unvaccinated animals exposed must be quarantined 6 months or euthanized
- Under certain circumstances, people can be vaccinated to prevent rabies if exposed to a bat that tested positive for rabies or if the bat is unavailable or bat was untestable.
Delaware County Public Health conducts free rabies clinics for dogs, and ferrets. Public Health has held 15 of its 16 scheduled clinics for 2017. The last clinic for 2017 will be held in October at the Delhi Fire Hall.
To report a suspected rabid animal call Delaware County Public Health Services at 607-832-5200. For more information call 607-832-5200 or visit our website at www.delawarecountypublichealth.com