BATAVIA, OH (FOX19) - Clermont County health officials say a bat, which was found by a child playing in their backyard, tested positive for rabies.
The child came in close contact with the bat, but it was not bitten.
Anytime there is suspected contact, the animal is brought in for testing if it can be captured, said Clermont County Public Health spokesperson Keith Robinson
The bat was submitted to the Clermont County Public Health for testing. The Ohio Department of Health confirmed the bet tested positive for rabies.
The last time rabies was found in Clermont County was in June 2016 when it was also discovered in a bat.
In 2016, there were a total of 41 rabies cases in Ohio; 36 cases in bats and five cases in raccoons.
The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal and affects the central nervous system. Once infected, the virus will almost always cause death.
Human rabies cases in the U.S. are extremely rare because of pet vaccinations and anti-rabies treatment, according to health officials.
All animal bites should be reported within 24 hours.
Officials say even though bat encounters with people do happen, pets are still more likely to be exposed or bitten by a bat, or other wild animal. Make sure your pet is current on its rabies vaccinations.
If a bat is found in your home, careful evaluation for possible exposure should be done. Because a bat bite may be so small that it could go undetected, rabies treatment should be considered if the bat was found in a room with a sleeping person, an unattended child who is not able to describe what happened, or a room with an individual under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with other sensory or mental impairment.
For more information on rabies, visit www.ccphohio.org.