Rabid bat numbers in Washington are highest in a decade

The number of rabid bats found in Washington state is the highest in a decade; the rabid bat found in Ballard was one of 12 found in parks and homes across the state in August.

The Ballard bat was discovered by a pedestrian on the corner of NW 73rd St and 8th Ave NW on August 22. Upon finding the sick bat, the pedestrian called Animal Control and the bat tested positive for rabies. Just days prior, a rabid bat was found near the boathouse at Green Lake.

In a press release, the Washington State Department of Health said the number of bats submitted for testing was higher than in other years, which they say may be because of increased public awareness. The department typically tests between 200 and 300 bats each year.

From the press release:

While any mammal can be infected with rabies virus, bats are the primary animal that carry rabies in Washington. It is important that people continue to take appropriate precautions if a bat is found – dead or alive. If you suspect that a family member or pet has had contact with a bat, do not touch the bat and call your local health department for next steps.

So far, a total of 21 rabid bats have been found in Washington. In 2016, 20 bats were found, and just nine in 2015. For more information on rabies and what to do if you encounter a potentially rabid bat, visit this Washington State Department of Health website.


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