Rabies confirmed in Warren County bat, health officials say

Rabies confirmed in Warren County bat, health officials say
The Warren County Health District (WCHD) says they were notified Wednesday that a bat tested positive for rabies. (Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters)

WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Warren County Health District (WCHD) says they were notified Wednesday that a bat tested positive for rabies.

Health officials did not say where in in the county the bat was collected or when it was collected.

WCHD says rabies is a viral disease present in mammals that is most frequently transmitted through a bite from an infected animal.

They say the virus acts by infecting the central nervous system and causes disease int he brain and ultimately, death.

Symptoms of rabies in humans include fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort early on and can progress to anxiety, confusion, hallucination, hypersalivation, and hydrophobia, officials say. Once the infection progresses to this point death usually happens within days, they say.

WCHD says 95 percent of bats tested at the ODH Laboratory are negative for rabies.

Officials say it’s a preventable disease and they offered tips for reducing risk of infection:

  • Keeping household pets safe by:
    • Ensuring that pets susceptible to rabies such as dogs, cats, and ferrets have their vaccinations up to date.
    • Maintaining control of your pets by supervising dogs and keeping cats and ferrets indoors.
    • Contacting animal control authorities to assist in the removal of stray animals from neighborhoods.
    • Spaying or neutering your pets to prevent or reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not receive proper rabies vaccination.
  • Keeping bats from getting into buildings by:
    • Making sure windows have screens, chimneys are capped, and electrical and plumbing openings are plugged.
    • Keeping unscreened doors or windows closed sealing all openings into the attic, basement, walls or occupied areas of the house that are larger than ½ inch by ½ inch. Use materials such as expanding spray-on foam, caulk, wire mesh, wood that fits tightly, steel wool (around pipes that enter buildings) or polypropylene bird netting to seal or cover gaps and holes.
  • Determining whether bats are already in a house by:
    • Listening for squeaking noises coming from the attic, walls or elsewhere.
    • Examining attic space, rafters, porches and walls for signs of roosting bats (e.g., evidence of bat guano and crystallized urine, or bare scratched areas on beams).
    • oWatching outside of the house at dusk to see if bats are flying out of the house to feed, or before dawn to see if bats are flying into the house to roost.
  • Getting bats out of a house in which they are roosting or entering by using bat exclusion techniques instead of killing the bats. Killing or poisoning bats is seldom necessary or desirable.
    • Sealing openings. Openings should not be sealed while bats are inside--this may drive them into occupied areas or create a sanitary problem when they die.
    • Waiting to begin major home renovations and sealing in the winter when most bats have left buildings.
    • Using special netting in a manner that allows bats to exit the house, but not to re-enter.
    • Consulting with a licensed pest control expert specializing in bat control.

WCHD say they have more information on rabies on their website and Facebook page.

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