Rabies (cont.)

3. Q: What should I do if I find a bat in my home?

A: If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, it can be caught, as described below, and released outdoors away from people and pets.

However, if there is any question of exposure, leave the bat alone and call animal control or a wildlife conservation agency for assistance. If professional assistance is unavailable, use precautions to capture the bat safely, as described below.

What you will need:

  • leather work gloves (put them on)
  • small box or coffee can
  • piece of cardboard
  • tape

When the bat lands, approach it slowly and place a box or coffee can over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely. Contact your health department or animal control authority to make arrangements for rabies testing.

4. Q: How can I tell if a bat has rabies?

A: Rabies can be confirmed only in a laboratory. However, any bat that is active by day, is found in a place where bats are not usually seen (for example in rooms in your home or on the lawn), or is unable to fly, is far more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often the most easily approached. Therefore, it is best never to handle any bat.

Travel and Rabies

1. Q: Should I be concerned about rabies when I travel outside the United States?

A: Yes. Rabies and the rabies-like viruses can occur in animals anywhere in the world. In most countries, the risk of rabies in an encounter with an animal and the precautions necessary to prevent rabies are the same as they are in the United States. When traveling, it is always prudent to avoid approaching any wild or domestic animal.

The developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have additional problems in that dog rabies is common there and preventive treatment for human rabies may be difficult to obtain. The importance of rabid dogs in these countries, where tens of thousands of people die of the disease each year, cannot be overstated. Unlike programs in developed countries, dog rabies vaccination programs in developing countries have not always been successful. Rates of postexposure prophylaxis in some developing countries are about 10 times higher than in the United States, and rates of human rabies are sometimes100 times higher. Before traveling abroad, consult a health care provider, travel clinic, or health department about your risk of exposure to rabies and how to handle an exposure should it arise.



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