Bats and Rabies Awareness

(BINGHAMTON, NY) - Each year, especially during the summer months, the Broome County Health Department (BCHD) experiences an increase in bat and human encounters. Potential exposure to the rabies virus by way of bats can be limited by vaccinating your animals, as well as maintaining your homes exterior.

The need for rabies post exposure treatment after an encounter with a bat can be minimized by safely containing and testing a bat that potentially had contact with a person. If a bat enters your home and comes into contact with you or your pets or is found in a room with a child, mentally challenged, impaired or sleeping person, the bat will need to be tested. Do not release the bat, capture it.

Bats can be safely collected by wearing gloves and using a coffee can or similar container and piece of cardboard. Take care to prevent further exposure and to prevent damage to the animals head. Keep the bat cool, but not frozen, if it is collected on a weekend or holiday. After capturing the bat contact the Health Department at 778-2847 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday). There is no immediate need to receive rabies treatment after a potential exposure.
 
If you see a bat in your home and you are certain that there was no contact with a person or pet (for example, you saw the bat fly in the house and never lost sight of it), close interior doors, open the exterior door(s) and/or window(s) and watch the bat until it leaves.
 
The Broome County Health Department can not assist in physically removing a bat. If you are unable or unwilling to capture the bat, see your local yellow pages for pest and wildlife handlers. If the bat is not successfully captured, contact the Health Department during normal business hours to consider the possible need for rabies treatment.
 
To view a video on how to catch a bat safely, and find additional information, please visit the Broome County Health Department’s website at www.gobroomecounty.com/eh and click on rabies. By collecting and testing the bat, we can avoid the need to unnecessarily provide rabies treatment, reserve limited vaccine supplies for true exposures, and protect the health and wellbeing of the community.
06/10/2013 - 4:46pm