A rabid bat was found on the ground in the Alki Beach area, in the parking lot of the Duwamish Head Condominiums at 1140 Alki Ave SW, across the street from the Alki Trail and Alki Beach Pier.
Anyone who might have had contact with this bat (even if not bitten) could be at risk and should seek medical evaluation immediately or call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to determine if rabies preventative treatment is necessary.
Rabies is life-threatening but is treatable if caught early and treated before any symptoms develop.
The bat was first identified the evening of September 18, 2022. Seattle Animal Shelter was notified of the bat on September 19, 2022. A Seattle Animal Shelter officer picked up the bat, which was still living, on the same day. The bat was taken to PAWS Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, where it died on September 30. Public Health was notified of the bat on October 5. Public Health tested the bat for rabies and received a positive test on October 6.
To date, Public Health has identified at least four people who may have been exposed to the bat and all are being evaluated by Public Health. Public Health is also working to notify residents of the Duwamish Head Condominiums of the potential risk.
Who is at risk
Any person or animal that touched or had contact with the bat 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.
“Rabies is treatable if caught before symptoms appear, so identifying anyone who has had contact with the bat as soon as possible is important,” said Elysia Gonzales, Medical Epidemiologist at 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 this bat, 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 a bat, 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.
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 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 other 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
Originally posted 10/6/22