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Five rabid bats have been found in Washtenaw County so far in 2018. The Washtenaw County Health Department is reminding residents to report any bat exposures or animal bites to 734-544-6700 before letting the animal go.
“We typically see a couple rabid bats in the county each year,” says Judy Gwozdek, communicable disease coordinator at the Washtenaw County Health Department. “Bat encounters tend to increase in the summer and fall months. Our public health nurses are available to talk through each situation and determine if there was any risk of exposure to rabies. This is critical, because rabies is almost always fatal if not prevented with post-exposure vaccination.”
The five rabid bats identified so far this year were all found in the 48103 and 48104 zip codes.
If you find a bat in your house, don’t let it out until you talk with the Health Department. Bat bites are so small they are often undetectable. Costly rabies post-exposure treatments can be avoided if animals are captured and sent for rabies testing.
If a bat is present in your home, leave the bat alone and contact an animal control agency. Or, use these precautions to capture the bat safely:
The Washtenaw County Health Department also recommends the following additional rabies prevention measures:
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most commonly transmitted by a rabid animal bite. The majority of reported cases occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. The virus infects the central nervous system, resulting in disease within the brain and then death. If a person is exposed to rabies, the disease can be prevented by a series of injections before symptoms occur. Additional rabies information is available on the health department’s website and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).