Bats are common everywhere in California and rabies infection is endemic in bats – meaning that there will always be a percentage of bats that are infected with rabies. It is important to remember to take simple precautions to prevent transmission of rabies infection from bats to humans, pets, and domestic animals.
Rabies vaccine is an important protective barrier for pets and humans. All dogs, cats, and pet ferrets need to have up-to-date rabies vaccines, even if they are strictly indoor pets. Indoor pets have become infected when a sick bat enters a home or garage in turn comes in contact with a pet. The pet then exposes the people around them.
Bats are a fascinating and important part of our ecosystem and help control insects. However, they should be enjoyed from a distance and never caught, handled, or touched.
If bats are found in a house or have had contact with a pet or human, it is important to call Animal Control for help evaluating the risk of possible exposure to rabies and what to do about the bat. If you can, place a box or waste basket over the bat until Animal Control can assist. Avoid handling the bat or killing it. Colusa County Animal Control can be contacted 7 days a week at (530) 458-0200.
For more information on bats and rabies visit www.countyofcolusa.org/publichealth and click on rabies prevention.