Bat Tested Positive for Rabies – Reminder to Properly Handle Wild Animals
Public health officials from the State of Oregon and the Lincoln County Health Department confirmed a bat tested positive for rabies by the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. This is the first positive bat for rabies in Tillamook County in 2018.
On Friday, July 20, 2018 Lincoln County Environmental Health received a report that a bat from Neskowin, Tillamook County bit a person. The bat was found on the ground by an unidentified mother and child in Neskowin. It is unknown whether they were bitten. The bat was transported to a wildlife center. The person transporting the bat handled it and was bitten. The bat died at the wildlife center. On July 23, 2018, it was sent to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory for testing the same day. The bat tested positive for rabies.
“Bats are the primary reservoir of rabies in Oregon,” said Kaline Chavarria of Lincoln County Environmental Health. “In the event of bat contact such as a bite or scratch, an attempt should be made to safely capture the bat, without destroying the head, for testing for the rabies virus.”
If you must handle a bat, it should be done with leather work gloves or an implement such as a shovel. Direct hand contact with bats should always be avoided. “All pet owners should make certain that their dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies. Protecting pets from rabies can provide a buffer zone of immune animals between humans and rabid wild animals such as bats,” said Emilio DeBess of the Oregon Health Authority.
Rabies symptoms in animals can include lethargy, walking in circles, and loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, irritability, aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling, and showing no fear of humans. Wildlife, livestock, or pets displaying these behaviors should not be approached or handled. Animal control or wildlife authorities should be contacted instead.
Consult with your local county Health Department whenever there has been human or pet contact with bats or any animal that appears to be sick, injured or has bitten a human or pet.
If you or someone you know has been bitten or in contact with a bat,
Call (541) 265-4127 to report animal bites to Lincoln County Environmental Health.
More information can be found at https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/environmental-health.