Holy Rabid Bats, Pr. George's!
Update: A county health department official said in an e-mail that "one person did come into contact with a rabid bat and received preemptive treatment for rabies."
The Prince George's County Health Department says reports of rabid bats are on the rise, and is advising residents to "bat-proof" their homes.
Tips include checking for holes in your house, using window screens and closing doors tightly. (Full notice below).
Since Aug. 1, nine bats have tested positive for rabies, officials said, although they offer no comparison with past rabid bat counts to show how steep a rise that represents.
The department also offers these stats, for perspective:
Thus far in 2009 there were nineteen (19) rabid animals found in Prince George's County: ten (10) bats, seven (7) raccoons, one (1) fox and one (1) cat. Last year there were sixteen (16) rabid animals in the County: eleven (11) raccoons, four (4) bats and one (1) skunk. There was no known human exposure to any of the rabid animals. Statewide for 2009 there have been 267 rabid animals to date, of which 46 were bats. This compares with 420 total rabid animals in all of 2008, of which 33 were bats.
For a firsthand account by The Post's own Frances Stead Sellers of what it's like to come face to face with a bat, click here.
Read the full release after the jump.
The Prince George's County Health Department Promotes Bat Rabies Awareness
LARGO, MD - The Prince George's County Health Department would like to make citizens aware of the increase in reports of rabid bats in Prince George's County. Since August 1st, nine bats have tested positive for Rabies.
"Rabies can be a fatal disease. The goal of the Health Department is to prevent human exposure to rabies by education and to prevent the disease by anti-rabies treatment if exposure occurs," said Health Officer Donald Shell, M.D., M.A. "Increased awareness about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets."
Bat-proofing your home is a very important step to protect families and pets from contact with possibly rabid bats. In order to bat-proof your home:
Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency.
Carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry into your living quarters.
Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked.
Use window screens, chimney caps and draft-guards beneath doors to attics.
Fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking.
Ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly.
There are also some simple steps to help reduce your risk of contacting rabies. These steps include:
Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, cats, dogs or ferrets, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
Have all dead, sick, or easily captured bats tested for rabies if exposure to people or pets occurs.
Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces where they might contact people and pets.
Be a responsible pet owner.
Keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats, and ferrets,
Keep your cats and ferrets inside and your dogs under direct supervision,
Call animal control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood, and consider having your pets spayed or neutered.
For more information on Rabies contact (301) 583-3750 or to report a bat found in your household contact Animal Management Division at (301) 780-7200.
September 8, 2009; 12:34 PM ET
Categories: Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County
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