Allegheny County Health Dept. urges residents to report all bat encounters; Rabies cases on rise
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. —
Officials from the Allegheny County Health Department are warning residents to report all bat encounters because of an increase in rabies cases.
According to a news release issued Wednesday, officials want residents to report all encounters even if they’re not sure if they were bitten or exposed to the animal’s saliva.
Bat bites can be so tiny they may leave no marks visible to the naked eye and so painless they may not even be felt by a victim, said officials.
Anyone who has come in contact with a bat should contact the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243).
Recently, a plumber was bitten by a bat at a worksite in Bethel Park. Health Department officials said the man was given an anti-rabies vaccine to prevent the disease from developing.
If you find a bat and are unsure whether you've been exposed, wear a pair of heavy-duty gloves and capture the bat by placing a container such as a large bowl over it and sliding a piece of cardboard underneath to trap the bat inside. Cover the container with a lid or cap. Call your local animal control officer to capture the bat and euthanize it for testing, if you are unable to do so yourself.
Bats can fit through openings as small as three-eighths of an inch, so seal all openings that might give bats access to your house or cover them with a fine-meshed screen.
Thirteen rabid animals have been reported in the County so far this year - six raccoons, six bats and one cat. Six people have been treated with anti-rabies vaccine and none have contracted the disease.