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Northeast County bat tests positive for rabies

A bat from northeastern Harris County has tested positive for rabies. According to Harris County Rabies/Animal Control one of their Animal Control Officers found the dead bat in his front yard. Using his ‘Bat Removal Kit’ he picked up the bat and brought it to the Rabies/Animal Control Shelter to be sent for testing. It was confirmed positive for rabies on August 15, 2002. There were no known human or animal exposures

Bats are considered at high risk for rabies in Harris County. They are also common to the area. Bats should never be handled. The Centers for Disease Control recommends rabies post-exposure immunization for physical contact with bats. Bats should also be sent for testing when found in rooms with sleeping persons, very young children, and anyone who is unaware of potential bites or incapable of communicating. If testing is not possible in these situations then post-exposure treatment may be indicated. Harris County Rabies/Animal Control urges the following precautions:

•Maintain current rabies vaccinations on all dogs and cats four months of age and older (vaccinations must be given every year).

•Confine all pets or keep them on a leash.

•All persons, especially children, should be warned to avoid all sick or injured animals.

•All stray or wild animals should be avoided, particularly skunks and bats observed during the day.

•Report all animal bites or scratches that break the skin to your area animal control agency.

•Report loose animals to animal control.

Harris County does accept some random wild animal samples for testing. Not all requests, however, can be accommodated. For educational programs on rabies or animal safety, or for more information, call Harris County Rabies/Animal Control at 281-1999-3191 or visit our website at www.countypets.com.