Bats found in Rockbridge confirmed rabid

Three bats found in separate i ncidents in May, June and July of this year in three separate locations in Lexington have been confirmed to be rabid.

While rabies is known to be endemic in wildlife across Virginia, bats have certain unique implications. Most of the recent human rabies cases in the U. S. have been caused by rabies virus from bats.

“Any bat that is active by day, is found in a place where bats are not usually seen, or is unable to fly, is far more likely than others to be rabid. Therefore, it is best to not handle bats,” said Douglas Larsen, M.D., director of the Central Shenandoah Health District (Virginia Department of Health). “Most people know when they have been bitten by a bat, but there are situations in which you should s eek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, do not destroy the animal’s brain or throw away the body. Call your local health department for advice on how to have the bat tested and whether anyone needs medical care.”

Rural Rockbridge County is home to many farms and agricultural activities. For livestock owners, a rabies vaccination is available for certain species of livestock. Check with your veterinarian on options to protect your animals. To date this year, Rockbridge County has seen nine positive rabies cases: in addition to the three bats, there have been two skunks, two raccoons, one pony and one bobcat.

For more information about rabies, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/dee/rabies.



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