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Sep-26-2007 10:03printcomments

Second Bat Tests Positive for Rabies in Benton County

This year in Oregon nine bats have tested positive for rabies including two bats in Benton County.

bat flying
Bats are among the common carriers of Rabies
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(CORVALLIS, Ore. ) - Officials from the Benton County Health Department have confirmed a bat has tested positive for rabies.

Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has verified the test results.

This year in Oregon nine bats have tested positive for rabies including two bats in Benton County.

On Sunday, September 16th, residents near Finley Wildlife Refuge discovered their dog had a live bat in its mouth.

When the dog released the bat, the owners killed the bat and notified the Benton County Health Department.

According to Deputy Administrator Bill Emminger, Benton County Environmental Health, rabies is endemic in the bat population.

Bats help control insect populations including mosquitoes, but they are the primary reservoir of rabies in wild animals.

"All pet owners should make certain their dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies. When our pets are protected from rabies, it provides a buffer zone of immune animals between humans and rabid wild animals such as bats," said Tom Eversole Benton County Health Administrator. “Unfortunately, the dog in this case had not been immunized against rabies,” Eversole added.

Residents and veterinarians should be aware that other animals could be exposed to the rabies virus and should be alert to potential signs of the disease.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and mammals. It is almost 100 percent fatal once symptoms begin.

The virus is carried in the saliva of an infected animal; transmission can occur when that animal bites, or in rare instances, scratches another. Residents should not handle bats with bare hands and should keep their pets' rabies immunizations up to date.

If bitten by a bat, person should immediately, thoroughly clean the bite wound with soap and water and seeks medical attention. The event should be reported to the county health department, and arrangements made to have the bat safely captured and tested for rabies.

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