BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Public Health warns against handling bats, after recent possible exposure of young children to rabies.
Rabies can only be found in saliva and nervous tissue and bats and raccoons are the primary carriers of rabies in Alabama.
If you are exposed to a bat, health officials warn not to kill the animal by blunt force trauma. This makes it impossible to test the specimen for rabies.
“The challenge is collecting the bat without further exposing yourself, so gloves should be worn and a shovel, net or other tools can be used to avoid touching it if possible," said Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health Veterinarian.
The ADHP reminds people of the following:
· If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, seek medical attention immediately.
· If you awaken and find a bat in your bedroom or in the room of an unattended child or a mentally impaired person, seek advice from your medical provider and report it to your county health department.
· If possible, collect the bat in an escape-proof container with air holes and take to a local veterinarian for euthanasia. Do not induce trauma by blunt force.
· If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon.