Teller County Public Health & Environment Provides Tips on Bat Awareness and Safety

It is bat season and the furry little creatures are flying around in the evenings throughout our community doing their job to keep those annoying insects down. Bats are amazing creatures that do a lot of good for our environment. They are also known to be a reservoir for rabies and require caution. Rabies is spread through saliva of a bat to a person or a pet through a bite. Most often, bat bites are so tiny, they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

It is important to keep bats out of your home and away from your pets. You should make sure that open windows and doors have screens to keep the bats out of living areas for you or your pets. They will chase insects almost anywhere, and you don’t want them chasing the insects inside. If you have a bat inside your home, do not touch it. Use leather gloves or a broom to get it out. If you cannot safely remove it from your home, call a pest control company to get it out.
Never go to sleep with a bat in your home. If you wake up with a bat in the room where you were sleeping or a bat came in contact with you, the bat should be captured for rabies testing. Anyone in a room with a bat, that cannot verify that they did not come into contact with a bat, is assumed to have a bat exposure. This includes infants & young children, elderly and anyone who cannot speak for themselves.

Rabies testing can only be done on a dead bat. There is no live testing. Testing is the only way to know if a bat does not have rabies. Without the bat, rabies positivity is always assumed.

Contact Teller County Public Health & Environment at 719-687-6416, if you or your pets have had a bat exposure. A bat exposure to an animal or human requires prompt attention. We can help assist you with the right course of action, including determining if you or your pets need post-exposure treatment. Post exposure treatment for humans can be quite expensive and time consuming. Post exposure treatment for animals is much less stressful if your pets have their up-to-date rabies vaccines. Do all you can to protect yourself and your animals. Ensure your pets, to include livestock, are up-to-date with their rabies vaccines. Take an active role to secure your screens and check the spark arresters on chimneys. Make sure bats stay in their space and don’t come into yours.