A bat found by a pet owner in the city of Urbana was submitted for rabies testing and was confirmed positive with rabies by the Ohio Department of Health on August 24.
The last confirmed case of rabies reported by Champaign Health District was in 2013 and was also found in a wild bat. The rabies virus is found in the saliva and brain (neural tissue) of an infected animal. The most common way people are exposed to rabies is from an animal bite. You cannot tell if an animal has rabies just by looking at it. Brain tissue from the animal must be tested at the Ohio Department of Health state laboratory for a diagnosis.
Most rabies cases occur in wildlife; however, your pet can become infected if they are bitten by a rabid wild animal, including bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. There are several things you can do to protect your pet from rabies:
· Maintain wellness visits for your pet and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date (including indoor-only pets).
· Keep pets indoors or make sure pets are under direct supervision when outdoors.
· Spay or neuter your pet to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may go unvaccinated.
· Call animal control to remove stray animals.
· Contact your veterinarian if your animal gets into a fight with a wild animal.
“The rabies vaccination is extremely effective,” Dr. Amber Singh, Ohio Department of Health Public Health Veterinarian said. “The vaccine is the best tool for rabies prevention and animals that are vaccinated rarely go on to develop the rabies virus.”
Ohio law requires that a bite incident report should be made to the health commissioner in the local health jurisdiction where the bite occurred (Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28) when a person is bitten by an animal, specifically mammals. This report should be made within 24 hours of the bite. The local health department will then complete a rabies exposure risk assessment. If the animal is a species at risk for rabies, they may quarantine it for a certain period of time or order the animal humanely killed for testing purposes. In the event that an animal is positive or indeterminate for rabies, the local health department will advise additional medical care for those exposed.
When making a bite report, be prepared to provide the local health department with the following important information:
· Description of the biting animal
· Owner of the animal
· Person exposed
· Location of where the bite happened
· Rabies vaccination status of the animal (if known)
· How the bite occurred
Information from Champaign Health District.