Livingston County health experts urge caution around bats due to potential rabies exposure

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:06 PM EDT
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HOWELL, Mich. (WILX) - Did you find a bat inside your house? You might want to think twice before releasing it outside.

Officials in Livingston County are urging residents to capture bats found inside the home so they can be tested for rabies. The Livingston County Health Department said bats should not be released outside if they were found in a room with a sleeping person, an unattended child, someone with mental impairment or an intoxicated person.

If you can’t capture the bat, it’s best to attempt to contain it to one area and let an animal control expert capture it.

According the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, rabies is one of the oldest recorded diseases on the planet, with cases being reported as early as 2000 B.C. Any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus.

Rabies can be transmitted through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. Bats and skunks are the most common carriers in Michigan. The virus can be fatal to humans after symptoms begin to occur, but deaths can be prevented with a vaccine administered immediately after exposure.

The Livingston County Health Department said those who may have been exposed to rabies to thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water before seeing a doctor immediately.

More information on rabies can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

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