November 23, 2014

DHS issues rabid bat warning

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is warning about the threat of being exposed to rabies from bats. A release from DHS reports that a rabid bat was diagnosed last week in Northwestern Wisconsin.

State veterinarian Jim Kazmierczak said while it’s uncommon to find a rabid bat this early in the year, some have been found in January in the past. Although the majority of bats overwinter in caves and mines and become inactive, some may find shelter indoors and occasionally come into contact with people or pets.

A nick from a bat’s tooth or claw, such as when the bat flies into someone’s face or arm, is needed to transmit the rabies virus. If there is physical contact with a bat, there would be the potential for rabies transmission to occur, assuming the bat was rabid, according to Kazmierczak.

Twenty-nine rabid bats were detected last year in Wisconsin.