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Rabid bat found in Ballard neighborhood

Summary

A rabid bat was found at the intersection of NW 73rd and 8th Ave NW in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard on August 22nd. If you had any contact with a bat at this intersection on Tuesday or Wednesday, contact Public Health immediately for information on preventative treatment. Rabies can be life-threatening, but treatable if caught early.

Story

A rabid bat was found on the sidewalk intersection of NW 73rd and 8th Ave NW in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard. The bat was noticed by a pedestrian on Tuesday afternoon, August 22. The pedestrian immediately notified Animal Control. The bat appeared sick and subsequently died prior to the arrival of Animal Control. The bat tested positive for rabies at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory on August 24.

Anyone who touched or had contact with the bat or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Fortunately, rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear, so identifying anyone who has had contact early is important."

If you or your child had any contact with a bat at intersection of NW 73rd and 8th Ave NW in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard on August 22 or 23, please call Public Health immediately at 206-296-4774 to get information about preventative treatment. This includes touching a bat, being bitten, scratched, or any other bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva.

Rabies and pets

Pets might have been exposed as well. If your pet might have been exposed, contact your veterinarian immediately. Dogs, cats and ferrets should be current on their rabies vaccine but will need to be revaccinated if they had contact with a bat.

More about rabies

Rabies is dangerous, but treatable if caught early:

  • If someone has had contact with the bat, treatment can prevent infection. This treatment should be given as soon as possible.
  • Once symptoms develop, rabies cannot be treated and leads to death in virtually all cases.

Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch. In Washington State, between 3-10% of bats tested for rabies are positive, though the bats that are tested are usually sick or injured; less than 1% of healthy bats are infected with rabies.

Because rabies is a life threatening disease, medical advice must be sought promptly if a bat comes into contact with humans or animals.

More about bats

Bats flying overhead, and bats that have not had direct contact with humans or animals, do not pose a risk for transmitting rabies. Healthy bats will avoid people, so be suspicious of a bat you find inside your home or on the ground.

If you find a bat:

  • If you find a bat inside your house, call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to discuss the situation and to determine whether the bat needs to be tested for rabies. Public Health tests bats for rabies free of charge under certain circumstances.
  • If the bat is alive, do not let it go! Knock it to the floor with a broom or other object, and cover it with a wastebasket or other container.
  • Scoop it into a box or plastic storage container with a secure lid without touching it or wear heavy leather gloves to pick it up and put it in the box.
  • Use a shovel or gloves to put a dead bat in a box for testing. Do not throw it away!

For more information about bats and rabies, and how to safely avoid bats, visit www.kingcounty.gov/bats

Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for two million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health — Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.

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