When a bat's home is not under the Congress bridge, but in your house!!

Though hopefully you never find yourself in this situation, in case you do, My Friend the Pediatrician (https://www.facebook.com/myfriendthepediatrician) has a great post explaining what to do if you were to find a bat in your house!  

Her post states:

"If you find a BAT in a room with an unattended child, sleeping person, intoxicated person, or person with an intellectual disability – capture it. Do NOT let it go. Do NOT kill it. 

Bats carry rabies more often than any other animal in the US, and they can bite through human skin WITHOUT leaving a mark behind.  There is no way to prove that a bite has not occurred. Therefore, the bat needs to be submitted for rabies testing. If the bat gets away, the exposed individual(s) will likely need multiple rabies injections to prevent catching rabies -- a deadly disease.

To capture a bat: Find leather work gloves. Wait for the bat to land. Cover the bat with a shoe box, jar, or plastic container. Gently slide the lid (or makeshift piece of cardboard) underneath. Tape the lid on securely. Poke a few small air holes (smaller than a dime). Next, call your local health department or veterinary office.  They will instruct you from there.

When untreated, rabies is fatal.  If you think that someone was potentially bitten, seek urgent help. The only way to prevent the rabies virus from spreading to the nervous system is to give a series of at least 5 rabies injections (immune globulin plus 4 vaccines) over the course of 14 days. The decision to vaccinate an exposed person should be made with the help of your local health department.

Rabies is typically passed from animals to humans either through bites or through contamination of scratches, abrasions, or mucous membranes with saliva or other infectious material. A bat that is acting “sick” such as crawling around in the daylight or easily approached by humans is a red flag.

You cannot get rabies from seeing the rabid animal or by touching its fur. You cannot get rabies from animal feces. Wildlife such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes most commonly carry rabies in the U.S. – but ALL mammals are susceptible to the virus. Hawaii is the ONLY state in the U.S. that remains “rabies free.” 

Again, if you find a bat in your child’s room, capture it and call the health department. Testing the bat for rabies infection is the absolute best way to rule out the risk of rabies transmission and AVOID the need for multiple injections.

If you see a bat minding its own business outside, leave it alone. If you encounter a bat inside your home but you feel 100% confident that nobody was bitten, there is no need to harm the bat – just use caution when attempting to catch and release.

I apologize if anyone has the heebie-jeebies! I just want you to be prepared BEFORE the problem arises!"

 

Author
PAA Advanced Practice Providers Our PAA APP's include: Amber Mercer, Annie Croft, Bridget Shen, Brooke Gonzalez, Caitlin Whiteman, Courtney Dudley, Emily Woodard, Emma McCarty, Erin Moore, Keena Chung, Lauren Karnesky, and Pam Dietrich

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