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Bat found in Eureka tests positive for rabies; second positive in Woodford County

EUREKA (WEEK) -- A bat collected from a home in Eureka has tested positive for rabies.

There was no human exposure to the bat, according to the Woodford County Health Department.

This is the second bat to test positively for rabies in Woodford County this year.

A pet at the home -- up to date on its annual rabies vaccination -- found the already dead bat. The pet will be in quarantine and undergo additional booster shots because of the exposure.

Bats have very small teeth, and a bite mark may not be visible. Additionally, rabies can be spread through the saliva of a rabid bat and get into the eyes, nose, mouth or open wound of another animal or person.

The only way to confirm if a bat has rabies is through laboratory testing. Only in instances when a person or pet has been exposed to a bat will the bat need to be tested for rabies.

People cannot tell by looking at a bat if it's rabid, according to the health department. The animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies.

Changes in any animal’s normal behavior, such as difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground and unable to fly, is likely to be sick. Such bats should never be handled.

The health department gives these tips to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Bat bites are hard to notice, the only way to evaluate your risk to rabies is to test the bat.
  • If you find a bat alive or dead in your home, especially in your bedroom, there is a possibility you may have been bitten while you were asleep. This risk applies to anyone in that sleeping area, even an infant or pet.
  • Call your physician right away if you are ever scratched or bitten by stray or wild animals.
  • Exercise extreme caution if you see a nocturnal animal, such as a skunk or bat, in daylight hours.
  • If you are able to do so without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten, try to cover the bat with a large can or bucket, and close the door to the room. Call a licensed professional pest control operator to remove the bat
  • If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with public health officials. Woodford County Health Department cannot remove or handle live animals.
  • Do not handle, feed or attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick wild animals to health. Call an animal rescue agency for assistance. Report strangely behaving stray or wild animals to local animal control.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot gain entry.
  • Be a responsible animal owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all pets (indoor/outdoor). Seek immediate veterinary assistance if your pet has been bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat
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