- Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
A bat collected in Warren County tested positive for rabies.
The Warren County Combined Health District (WCCHD) was notified on Oct. 28 that a bat collected in the Landen area of Warren County had tested positive for rabies.
“The bat was tested due to being in close proximity of two family dogs, the dogs were up to date on rabies vaccinations. The dogs were given rabies booster vaccinations and are in quarantine for 30 days as a precautionary measure,” Alicia Habermehl, public information officer for the health department, said Friday in an email.
“There was no bite to the dogs that we are aware of, testing was done as it was thought that the dogs could have been in close contact with the bat,” she added. “The dogs do not have rabies.”
There are no area reports of people bitten by a bat or having contracted rabies, according to Habermehl who declined to provide more exact information about where the bat was found.
“Bats are testing positive for rabies all across Ohio,” Habermehl added. There have been 29 cases reported in Ohio this year. Two cases have been reported in Clark County, and one case has been reported in Darke County, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
This is the second report in Warren County in recent years, according to Duane Stansbury, the county’s health commissioner.
State law prevents health officials from specifying the location, but Stansbury said the location of the report was less significant due to the wide travel paths of bats: Everyone should be sure to get pets vaccinated for rabies and take other steps to prevent getting bitten by a bat.
This time of year, Stansbury said, bats are looking for areas in woodpiles and rotted trees to hibernate, creating another potential hazard for people with fireplaces or other wood-burning devices.
Rabies is a viral disease present in mammals that is most frequently transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.
The virus acts by infecting the central nervous system and causing disease in the brain and subsequently, death.
Symptoms of rabies include fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort early on and can progress to anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, hypersalivation, and hydrophobia.
Once the infection has progressed to this point death frequently occurs within days. Most (95 percent) of bats tested at the ODH Laboratory are negative for rabies.
“Although bats are very good for our environment, they also pose a potential risk to humans and pets. Thus, we are encouraging residents to take the precautionary measures listed in our media release to reduce the risk of rabies to residents, pets and other animals, “Habermehl added.