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 Veterinary Diagnostic laboratory in Corvallis. This is the first positive bat for rabies in Lincoln County in 2017.
On Thursday, August 24, 2017, Lincoln County Environmental Health received a deceased bat that was killed by 2 dogs after behaving unusually in the yard of their residence. The bat was then taken to the Oregon State Veterinary Diagnostic laboratory for testing the same day.
“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 sturdy 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, 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.
To report bites to Lincoln County Public Health, call (541) 265-0458. You can find more information about Lincoln County Environmental Health and animal bites at https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/environmental-health.
For more information about rabies visit the Oregon Health Authority website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/RABIES/Pages/bats.aspx or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/ .
Lincoln County Public Health, in collaboration with our community partners, provides leadership to assure the conditions for healthy communities.
Information provided by Lincoln County public health. Photo by kajornyot/Shutterstock