Auburn Animal Control services were notified the morning of August 13 of two bats (1 dead, the other appeared sick) on the sidewalk near the corner of B Street NE and 3rd Street NE in Auburn. Public Health conducted an investigation and did not identify anyone who had contact with the bats. The bats tested positive for rabies at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory on August 15.
The bats might have been on the sidewalk the previous night, so they could have come in contact with people or pets walking on the sidewalk on August 12.
Who is at risk
Any person or animal that touched or had contact with the bats or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. Fortunately, rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear. Anyone who had contact with these bats on the sidewalk near the corner of B Street NE and 3rd Street NE in Auburn should contact Public Health at 206-296-4774 or seek medical evaluation immediately.
“Rabies is treatable if caught before symptoms appear, so identifying anyone who has had contact with the bats as soon as possible is important,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Contact includes touching a bat, being bitten, scratched, or any other bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva.”
Rabies and pets
If your pet might have been exposed to these bats, contact your veterinarian immediately. Dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses should be current on their rabies vaccine but will need to be revaccinated if they had contact with a bat.
More about rabies
Rabies is dangerous, but treatable if caught early before any symptoms develop:
- If someone has had contact with these bats, treatment can prevent infection. This treatment should be given as soon as possible.
- Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms begin.
The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch.
Because rabies is a life threatening disease, medical advice must be sought promptly if a bat comes into contact with humans or animals.
More about bats
Bats flying overhead, and bats that have not had direct contact with humans or animals, do not pose a risk for transmitting rabies. Healthy bats will avoid people, so be suspicious of a bat you find inside your home or on the ground.
If you find a bat:
- If you find a bat inside your house, call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to discuss the situation and to determine whether the bat needs to be tested for rabies. Public Health tests bats for rabies at no charge under certain circumstances.
- Live bats should be captured and might need to be tested for rabies if:
- If the bat had direct contact with a person’s bare skin or with a pet OR
- If a person wakes up to a bat in the room in which they were sleeping
- Use a shovel or gloves to put a dead bat in a box for testing. Do not throw it away!
- Open windows and allow bats to leave your home if they have not come into contact with a person or pets. Close doors to others parts of your home and secure pets away from the location of the bat.
For more information about how to safely capture a bat in your home and how to safely avoid bats, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/bats