Bat tests positive for rabies in Calumet County

CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A bat has tested positive for rabies in Calumet County.

The Public Health Department reports that the bat was found on Aug. 8. Officials did not provide an exact location.

The department says there is no known human exposure or exposure to other animals.

However, they are warning the public that skunks, foxes, raccoons, livestock, dogs, and cats can carry rabies.

Rabies is spread through the bite of an infected animal. It severely affects the central nervous system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most bats do not have rabies. Only about six percent of bats submitted for testing had rabies. Click here for more information on bats and rabies.

Many local viewers remember the story of rabies survivor Jeanna Giese. In 2004, the Fond du Lac teenager was bitten by a downed bat which she thought was dead. She was the first person in medical history to survive rabies without either being vaccinated prior to a bite or receiving treatment before symptoms appeared.

Calumet County Public Health says all animal bites should be treated by a health care professional. The rabies vaccine is effective at preventing the disease from getting worse.

The department provided these tips for protecting your family from exposure to rabies:

• Report any sick or strange acting wildlife
• Vaccinate pets and livestock. Vaccinating pets provides protection for the animal and helps to keep the rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people.
• Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact.
• Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home.
• Do not approach an unknown animal, either wild or domestic, especially if it is acting in a strange or unusual manner.
• Report all animal bites and any contact with bats to local authorities Timely reporting of animal bites allows public health experts to offer recommendations on the need for rabies vaccination.
• Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing any food outside.
• Children should be instructed to tell an adult immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.
• Keep bats out of your living quarters by making sure screens are in good repair and close up any small openings that could allow them to enter.

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