Bat with rabies found in Skagit County
October 25, 2023
A Skagit County resident was exposed to rabies recently by picking up a bat, which later tested positive for rabies, with bare hands. The person sustained a scratch when handling the bat and called Skagit County Public Health, who directed them to medical care, where they received the first doses of rabies prophylaxis the same day.
Bats and animals ill on the ground should be left alone or safely moved with a shovel to where people and pets will not come in contact with them.
In Washington, bats are the only mammal known to carry rabies. Any person or animal that touches or has contact with a bat or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. Rabies is preventable if treatment is provided before symptoms appear.
Anyone that has direct contact with a bat must call a medical provider immediately and report the exposure to Skagit County Public Health at 360-416-1500.
If your pet or livestock was exposed to a bat, contact a veterinarian immediately.
To prevent rabies:
Do not touch or handle wild animals, especially bats.
Do not feed wild animals or keep them as pets.
Bat-proof your home. Bats can squeeze through cracks and holes as small as half an inch. Learn how to humanely exclude them.Vaccinate pets and livestock.
Teach kids not to touch bats or any wild animal and keep pets away from bats.
If you are exposed
If you, your children or pets may have had contact with a bat, take immediate action.
Immediately wash the area that came into contact with the bat thoroughly with soap and water.
Call your medical provider. A person exposed to rabies, needs to be given a series of rabies vaccinations as soon as possible to prevent infection and death.
Report your exposure to Skagit County Public Health at 360-416-1500.
Never handle a bat with bare hands.
More about bats
Most bats don’t have rabies. Bats flying overhead and bats that have no had direct contact with humans or animals do not pose a risk for transmitting rabies. Bats are beneficial to people and the environment. They are effective predators of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes, and pollinate plants and trees. They can also be carriers of a very rare, but serious disease.
More information: Skagit County Public Health: 360-416-1500; [email protected].
Source: Skagit County Public Health