CORVALLIS, Ore. — Another bat found in Benton County has tested positive for rabies; this is the third bat in Benton County and the 13th in the state this year.
The bat was found in a watering trough at a horse arena near Philomath. A woman was working at the arena when she found two bats in the water, one was alive and the other was dead. The woman scooped both bats out the water, barehanded, placed them in a secure container and called the Benton County Health Department.
Both bats were sent to the Oregon Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing because of the woman’s possible exposure to rabies by direct hand contact. One of the bats tested positive for rabies. The woman is receiving the post-exposure rabies vaccine.
Benton County Health officials say wild animals should never be handled without wearing sturdy gloves or other protection.
“Wildlife that is acting strange or appears to be sick should especially be avoided,” Gordon Brown, of Benton County Environmental Health, said. “Rabies is endemic in the bat population and bats are the primary reservoir of rabies in wild animals for our area of the country.”
If an animal is expressing lethargy, walking in circles, disorientation, loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, aggressiveness and excessive drooling, to contact the local health department since these are symptoms of rabies. Also pet owners should make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies to protect the animals and themselves.