Bats and Rabies 2009 1
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What is rabies? Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other warm-blooded mammals. Human rabies is very rare in the United States, but animal rabies, particularly in some wild animal species, is common. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms of the disease have begun. How is rabies spread? Rabies virus is found only in the brain, spinal cord, and saliva of infected animals. It can be passed to a person or another animal if any of these fluids or tissues from an animal with rabies by a bite, a fresh opening of the skin that has not scabbed over (wound less than 24 hours old), or mucous membrane (eyes, lining of the nose, or mouth). The chance of getting rabies from an animal with rabies depends on the type of exposure. What is an exposure to rabies? There are two types of possible exposures to the rabies virus. The most dangerous type is from the bite of a known rabid animal that breaks the skin. A non-bite exposure results when saliva, spinal fluid, or brain tissue from a rabid animal gets into an open wound or mucous membrane. You CANNOT get rabies from the following: · Contact with blood · Contact with urine or feces · Contact with dried saliva · Petting, or otherwise touching the hair of a rabid animal · Touching bowls, lead ropes, gates, trailers, or other surfaces the rabid animal contacted How can I tell if a bat has rabies? Only a laboratory test can tell if a bat has rabies. However, any bat that is out during the day, is found in a place where bats are not usually seen (for example, in a room in your home or on the lawn), or is unable to fly, may have rabies. So, it is best never to handle any bat. What Should I Do If I Come In Contact With A Bat? If you are bitten by a bat -- or if saliva, brain tissue, or spinal fluid from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound -- wash the area thoroughly and get medical advice immediately. If possible, capture the bat and send to a laboratory for rabies testing (see: How can I safely capture a bat in my home?). People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat. However, because bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, in certain cases you should seek medical advice even if you don’t see a bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested. What Should I Do If My Pet Is Exposed To A Bat? If you think your pet or domestic animal has been bitten by a bat, contact a veterinarian or your health department immediately and have the bat tested for rabies. Remember to keep your pets currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Bats and Rabies Public Health Fact Sheet Public Health Fact Sheet Continued on Next Page
|Okla State Agency||
Health, Oklahoma State Department of
|Okla Agency Code||
|Title||Bats and rabies.|
Oklahoma. Acute Disease Service.
|Publisher||Oklahoma State Department of Health|
Bats as carriers of diseases.
Rabies in animals--Popular works.
|Purpose||What is rabies? Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other warm-blooded mammals.; How can I tell if a bat has rabies? Only a laboratory test can tell if a bat has rabies.|
|Notes||This document has been adapted from a document produced on September 28, 2009 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|Series||Public health fact sheet|
|OkDocs Class#||H845.1 B334r 2009|
|Digital Format||PDF, Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: http://www.ok.gov/health/documents/Bats%20and%20Rabies%202009.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma state government publication is provided for educational purposes under U.S. copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|