PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
Public Health Facility, 531 Meade Street, Watertown, New York 13601
PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate ReleaseContact: Tricia BartonPhone: 786-3720
Exposure to Bats is on the Rise in Jefferson County– Know What To DoWatertown, NY, August 4, 2011 -
Each year, especially during the warm summer months when bats are active and feeding, there is a rise in the number of bat and humanencounters reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service. Although most batsdo not have rabies, some do. Bat bites are difficult to see and may not be felt. As a result,some people may not realize they have been bitten by a bat that could be infected withthe rabies virus.Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Humanscan get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. Rabies can also be contractedwhen saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.Besides bats, raccoons and skunks are other common carriers of rabies.If you have been bitten or exposed to a bat (or other animal that may have rabies), seek immediate medical attention. Report the bite/exposure to Public Health. Treatment withrabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin immediately. Rabies can spreadfrom animals to people and is nearly always fatal without proper treatment. Withtreatment, rabies is 100% preventable.If you have a bat in your house and there is any chance that it had contact with a humanor a pet, you should make every attempt to catch the bat without damaging it so that itcan be tested for rabies. If you have any uncertainty, for instance, you woke up and founda bat in your room, or the bat was in a room with an unattended child, a mentallyimpaired or intoxicated person, the same precautions should be taken.
Catch the bat. Donot release it.
Testing will determine whether or not the bat had rabies and will minimizethe need for unnecessary post-exposure treatment.If you see a bat in your home and you are certain that there was no contact with a personor pet (for example, you saw the bat fly in the house and never lost sight of it), close theroom and closet doors, open the windows and watch the bat until it leaves.
How to Capture a Bat
Confine the bat to one room by closing all windows and doors, turn on the lights, andwait for the bat to land. Wearing gloves approach the bat slowly, cover the bat with acoffee can or similar container and slide a piece of cardboard or lid under the can