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Two Undergo Rabies Treatment

BINGHAMTON, NY - Two Binghamton residents are undergoing post-exposure treatment for rabies after they awoke to find a bat in their bedroom. The bat was not captured. There was insufficient information for the Broome County Health Department to determine that an exposure did not occur. If the bat in question had been captured, it could have been tested. If the bat tested negative for rabies, then rabies treatment would not have been necessary.

"Not all bats have rabies but unless one is absolutely sure they were not exposed, they must go through the preventative process or they could develop the fatal disease," said Diane O'Hora, Supervising Public Health Educator at the Broome County Health Department.

It is very important for people to know that if a bat is known or suspected of having exposed a person or an unvaccinated pet to rabies, that the bat be captured.

The recommended way of capturing a bat is as follows:

  • Seal off the area where the bat is located so it cannot escape. Close all closet and entry doors, and windows.
  • Turn on the lights.
  • Exit the room.
  • Put on clothing that covers a majority of the body, including a pair of gloves.
  • Get a broom, tennis racket or like object to knock the bat down with.
  • Have available a container such as a coffee can, pail, or a small wastebasket that you can put over the bat once it has been knocked to the floor.
  • Also, get a piece of cardboard or other firm object to cover the opening of the container so you can keep the bat trapped and tape to secure the lid.
  • Once you have done all the above go into the room where the bat is located, close the door behind you. If the bat is flying, wait for it to land. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THE BAT'S BRAIN MUST BE INTACT FOR IT TO BE PROPERLY TESTED. Swing hard enough to knock the bat down but not "squash it." Once it is down, immediately cover it up with the container. Next, slide the cardboard or "cover" under the container (make sure you have your gloves on) and maneuver the bat so you can turn the container over with the bat inside and keep the opening covered. Put something on the cover to hold it in place or tape it down.
  • Keep the bat in the sealed container in a cooler or refrigerator that does not contain food.

If you capture a bat during normal working hours Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., call the Broome County Health Department at 607.778.2847. If it is after hours or on a weekend or holiday call Broome County Emergency Services at 607.778.1911, and they will contact a Health Department employee to get back to you. These same numbers can be used if you have been exposed to any animal and need some direction as to what you need to do to be sure you are safe from rabies.

If you are bitten, scratched or have contact with an animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound, seek medical attention, and report the incident to the Broome County Health Department at the numbers listed above. If the bite is from a domestic animal, make sure you get the name, address and phone number of the owner, even if the owner indicates that the animal is up to date on its rabies vaccination. This will greatly assist the Broome County Health Department in dealing with the matter in the best way possible for your protection and the protection of others.

For more information on rabies visit the Broome County Health Department's web site at www.goBroomeCounty.com/hd and follow the links to rabies.

04/14/2005 - 1:46pm