After obtaining results, Washington is seeing its highest statistics for rabid bats since 1998.
In a press release sent out by Jefferson County Public Health official Jenny Matters, the state of Washington saw it’s highest rabid bat cases in 20 years after four bats tested positive for rabies in the month of March.
“The Washington State Department of Health reminds people to call their local health department if they, a family member or a pet interacts with a bat,” stated a press release from Liz Coleman, of environmental health.
The Department of Health routinely tests and find rabid bats, more so in the summer months.
“DOH wants the public to continue to take appropriate precautions if a bat – dead or alive – is found,” Coleman stated. “Try to avoid contact with bats and other wild animals; do not touch a bat if possible.”
If a person or pet does come in contact with a bat, DOH asks to try to safely capture the bat, contain it and keep it away from others, and call the health department to proceed on the next steps.
“It is also important to protect your pets by ensuring their rabies vaccinations are current,” the release stated. “While any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus, bats are the most common animal in Washington that carry rabies.”
According to the release, 22 bats were not only tested, but had the virus in 2017, up from 20 in 2016.
“The Washington State Public Health Laboratories tests between 200 and 300 bats per year,” The release stated. “Typically, between three and 10 percent of the bats submitted for testing are found to be rabid.”