Rabid Bat Found in Walla Walla County, How to Protect Yourself
A dead bat was turned over to the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health on June 12th. According to to a release from the Department:
The woman who had the dead bat in her possession was concerned it was rabid.
This is Walla Walla's first rabies positive bat since 2018.
In Washington, it's believed that 3-10% of bats are carrying rabies. In this particular case, there was no human exposure. Rabies can spread to people or pets if they are bitten or scratched by the rabid animal.
Dr. Kaminsky, County Health Officer, stated “We expect to find rabies in our bat population periodically. This is a good reminder to avoid wild animals, especially if they are acting strangely.”
What is rabies? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies.
How can you protect yourself and your pets?
Pets should be vaccinated against rabies on a regular basis. Bats shouldn't be handled. If you do have exposure to a bat, you are advised to contact your county's Department of Community Health to investigate the exposure. People who are exposed to a rabid animal can prevent rabies by getting prompt medical treatment. Rabies infection almost always causes death if the person does NOT receive preventative treatment.