News Flash

City of Longview News

Posted on: April 20, 2018

Rabies Risk from Bat Exposure

bat

Longview Animal Control is reminding residents to be cautious when encountering bats. So far in 2018, Longview Animal Control has responded to 17 calls for bat issues at various locations where human to animal exposure was confirmed. Of those 17 calls, 6 bats were sent in for rabies testing, the remaining 11 bats had been released by the person(s) that were exposed. Recently, Longview Animal Control responded to an apartment complex in West Longview on five (5) different occasions regarding bats inside apartments. A total of 6 bats were removed from the apartments by Animal Control and sent for testing. All 6 tested negative for rabies.

According to Animal Services Manager Shannon DeRosa, “We believe the number of bat exposures may actually exceed the 17 calls we have received because some residents choose to release the bats without knowing how harmful those actions really are.  Bat exposure is a major concern due to the possibility of contracting rabies. The good news is that rabies is treatable in humans, but only if it is caught before signs and symptoms occur. The bad news is that once signs and symptoms are present, the disease is nearly 100% fatal. So, residents are encouraged to report encounters with bats as soon as possible.”

If you see a bat inside your residence or place of business, please do not touch it or release it outside. Animal Control or 911 should be notified so a professional Animal Control Officer can remove the bat and send it in for testing. While waiting for the Animal Control Officer to arrive, family members and other animals should be isolated to other areas away from the bat. If the bat is released prior to Animal Control’s arrival, Animal Control will assume the bat could be positive for rabies and will recommend appropriate post-exposure vaccinations be started by your physician. Post rabies exposure vaccinations are very expensive and could be avoided if Animal Control can capture the bat for testing. For more information, please contact Longview Animal Control at 903-237-1290 or visit LongviewTexas.gov/Animals.

Helpful Information about Bats:

  • Never handle a bat.
  • Bats flying overhead do not pose a risk for transmitting rabies. Rabies is transmitted when an infected bat bites or scratches a person’s skin. A bat’s teeth are very small and a person may not notice they’ve been bit.
  • Typically healthy bats do not fly around or lay around during day light hours.
  • If a person is scratched or bitten by a bat, Longview Animal Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services, advise that the exposed person begin treatment to prevent rabies as soon as possible.
  • Residents are encouraged to periodically check attics and other quiet structures around the home. If bat roosts are discovered, pest control companies may assist with removal.
  • Vaccinate your pets yearly to protect them against rabies.

Additional Info...
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