Health Officials Issue Indoor Bat Warning In WNC - WSPA.com

Health Officials Issue Indoor Bat Warning In WNC

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Buncombe County Health and Human Services says that bats coming into your home this time of year needs to be on your radar. Buncombe County Health and Human Services says that bats coming into your home this time of year needs to be on your radar.
BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. -

Health officials in western North Carolina are issuing a bat warning.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services says that bats coming into your home this time of year needs to be on your radar.

Last month, Melinda Graves woke up to a bat flying around her kitchen.

“My daughter and I were having breakfast and that is when she noticed the bat flying around behind us."

Within 48 hours of theunwelcomed encounter, Graves and her family were treated for rabies.

But they could have possibly avoided the costly and timely vaccinations, if they contained the bat for testing.

Disease control officials at Buncombe County DHHS recently had several calls where someone did not know what to do after a bat was found inside their home.

“In these cases residents released the bats outdoors before authorities were notified, leaving no way to test the bats for Rabies and subsequently having to receive the rabies treatment,” a news release states.

DHHS is reminding residents that bats found indoors should be contained and tested for rabies, because most human rabies cases in the U.S. have been the result of exposure to bats.

“That never crossed my mind at the time,” says Graves. “Looking back now, it makes sense to somehow try to contain it or trap it."

Many of those people who were exposed weren’t aware of it, the department says.

Officials provide the following tips to avoid a possible exposure to rabies:

  • If you awaken to find a bat in your room, tent or cabin, do not release it outdoors. Instead, safely confine the bat to the room or tent, be sure all people and pets leave the space and contact your local animal control to have it captured and tested for rabies.
  • If you know you have been bitten, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water before seeing a doctor.
  • Never handle a bat with your bare hands.
  • If any person has been potentially exposed to a bat, the bat should be submitted for testing without delay. If the bat is not available OR if it is not tested and found to be negative within 48 hours of the exposure, the person must start rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
  • You should take the time to determine if there is a bat infestation in the building, even if only one bat is found. This can be done by contacting the Wildlife Damage Control Agent and having them look for signs of a bat infestation such as bats flying out of building at dusk, squeaking or scratching behind walls, stains or odor outside or inside of the building.

If you find a bat indoors, you can call your local animal control office.

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