Public health officials offer safety reminders regarding bats
MADISON (WKOW) -
Public Health Madison & Dane County is reminding people in the area that late summer is when unwanted visits from become a bigger problem, because
the young bats born in the spring are now old enough to take to the air
in search of food and new places to live.
Bats are the main
carriers of rabies in Wisconsin. Even though a very small
percentage of bats actually carry rabies, the disease is fatal if left untreated.
This summer, Public Health Madison & Dane County's Animal Services operation has
collected and submitted 120 bats to the State Lab of Hygiene
for analysis. Three have tested positive for rabies.
Columbia County has had five positive tests, and there have been 23 positive rabies tests statewide in 2012.
Dogs and cats like to catch bats
during the night, so important to make sure that your pets have
up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Even inside cats should be vaccinated, in case bats find their way inside your home. It is also very important to not dispose
of bats found in your home, so they can be tested for rabies. If your pet has contact with a bat, you should call Animal Services at (608) 267-1989.
Another concern is bats finding their
way into your home and biting or exposing a
sleeping person. Bat bites are small and a sleeping
person may not notice them. If this happens, again, do not dispose of the bat or shoo it out of your home.
bat, the medical presumption is that you have been exposed to rabies,
which requires a series of shots.
Health officials say you should try to catch and
confine the bat, while trying to avoid being bitten. The most
common method of capture is to wait until the bat lands on a wall or
other surface, place an empty cottage cheese or other container over it,
slide the cover under and secure. Some people use a broom or tennis
racket to knock the bat out of the air and then
It is very important that you not damage the bat's head, as the brain needs to be intact for proper rabies
Once you have secured the bat, call Police and
Fire Dispatch at (608) 266-4673. They will send out an Animal Services
Officer to collect the bat and submit it for
rabies testing at the State Lab of Hygiene. Public Health communicates
the test results to the exposed person and provides care recommendations
based on test results.
Animal Services is on duty 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on
weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. If a bat is found or captured
during the nighttime hours, we recommend that the
bat be kept refrigerated until Animal Services can pick it up. Heat and time break down the brain tissue needed for
Health officials say bats
are a vital part of our natural ecosystem. One nursing mother bat can
eat more than her own body weight´s worth of insects every
night – which can be as much as 4,500 bugs, including mosquitoes.