MEDFORD, Ore. – After a rabid bat was found in Medford, health officials are warning the public to take precautions.
Jackson County Health and Human Services said on the evening of July 16, one person had “physical contact” with a bat that tested positive for rabies.
“Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system,” health officials explained. “It is transmitted from infected mammals to human and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear.”
Bats are reportedly the most common carriers of rabies in the State of Oregon, with 8-10% of bats testing positive for the disease every year.
If you see bats—or other wildlife—acting odd, do not approach them. Instead, take children indoors and call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600.
“Authorities emphasize the main protection for humans is to make sure pets are vaccinated and avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife,” HHS said. “Public health officials advise taking extreme precautions before attempting to handle a bat. If it is necessary to pick up a bat, it is best to wear heavy gloves, use a shovel or both.”
For more information about rabies, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/RABIES/Pages/rabies.aspx