Rabid bat found in Eastlake

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Jefferson County health officials are urging residents of an east Birmingham neighborhood to take precautions after a rabid bat is found in the area.  

The sick mammal was found last week in the basement of a home in the Eastlake community.  A test confirmed it did indeed have rabies.  That is when officials began canvassing neighborhoods, passing out this literature, hoping to educate people.  

"Generally when they're flying around they won't be a hazard to us," said Ralls Coston who is an environmental health supervisor with the Jefferson County Health Department.  "But when you find them lying on the ground, acting not like a bat would normally act, don't handle them because they may be rabid".

Coston says, on average, about one or two rabid bats are found every year in Jefferson County.  

In this case, the homeowner and the person who examined the bat were exposed, so they are being treated for exposure to rabies.  Also, there were four dogs in that basement that may have been exposed to the bat.  Three of them were euthanized because they were not vaccinated.

"One of the best barriers to getting rabies to the human population is to have your pets vaccinated," Coston says.

If you see a live bat that appears sick, you can call the Alabama Wildlife Center at  621-3333  or Wild Birds Unlimited in Trussville at 655-8033.