SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — A bat that was found in a Marion County home has reportedly tested positive for rabies, according to public health officials. It is the third time this year that a bat tested positive for the disease in Oregon.
The bat was tested at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University on Tuesday.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) says bats are the most common carriers of rabies in the state and that about 8-10% of the bats tested for rabies are positive every year.
Local authorities encourage people to avoid contact with any stray animals or wildlife and to make sure their pets are vaccinated. Additionally, public health officials advise people to use extreme caution before attempting to handle a bat. If picking up a bat is deemed necessary, it’s recommended to wear heavy gloves, use a shovel, or both.
Officials suggest taking children and pets indoors if you find sick wildlife on your property. Sick bats, for instance, may be seen flopping on the ground or acting unusual. Someone who gets scratched or bitten by a bat should immediately clean the wound, and seek medical attention. Intact bats can be tested for rabies, which could potentially help people avoid getting post-exposure rabies shots, so it’s recommended to not crush or throw away the bat if one has been captured.
Contact your veterinarian immediately or call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (866-968-2600) if your pet has encountered a bat or has been bitten by a wild animal.
For more information, visit OHA’s public health division website.