Health & Wellness

First case of rabies in a bat reported to Lane County Public Health

Lane County Public Health (LCPH) was notified of a positive case of Rabies in a bat. A South Eugene resident was in their yard around 9 p.m. when a bat flew directly into that person. The bat was stunned by the impact and fell to the ground. The individual gathered the bat and reported the incident to LCPH. The bat was sent to the Oregon State Veterinary Lab for testing where the presence of rabies was detected. 

“This is the first case of bat rabies in 2020 and a good reminder to stay away from bats,” said Emilio DeBess, DVM, state public health veterinarian at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “Also, it is a good reminder to keep your pets vaccinated for rabies to protect them and your family.”

The individual who had contact with the bat received the rabies post-exposure prophylaxis treatment as a preventative measure. 

Rabies in bats has been documented in 49 states and is endemic in Oregon’s bat population. 

Recent data suggest that transmission of rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites from bats. Human and domestic animal contact with bats should be minimized, and bats should never be handled by untrained and unvaccinated persons or be kept as pets.

In all instances of potential human exposures involving bats, the bat in question should be safely collected, if possible, and submitted for rabies diagnosis. Safe collection means not actually handling the bat, but rather using a utensil to pick up and place it a safe container which cannot be punctured and reported to Lane County Public Health. Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for all persons with a bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to a bat, unless the bat is available for testing and is negative for evidence of rabies.

It is important to note that bats are a critical part of the ecosystem and should not be targeted or proactively killed. 

To prevent exposure to bats in both humans and animals, LCPH recommends being aware that bats primary feeding time is at dusk. Avoid letting pets outside an hour before and an hour after dusk. Also, make sure all windows have screens and that pets are vaccinated for rabies.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos