Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Department Officials Encourage Precautions
July 5, 2012 - A bat in St. Marys has tested positive for rabies and as a result, Camden County Health Department officials encourage all residents to take proper precautions. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals such as bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common way for people to get rabies in the United States is through contact with a bat. Any bat that is active by day or is found in a place where bats are not usually seen like in your home or on your lawn might be rabid and should be avoided.
It's best to contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with "bat-proofing" your home. In addition, residents should avoid contact with wild or stray animals, watch for unusual behavior in pets and wildlife, and get pets vaccinated against rabies.
The Camden County Health Department offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out overnight.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
• Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. It's the law and it's an important protection for you and your pets.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Camden County Animal Control at 912-576-7395 and the Camden County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 912-729-6012.