Public health officials issued an alert Wednesday after a bat found west of Woodburn tested positive for rabies.
Marion County Public Health and Oregon Health Authority officials said a dog owned by a rural resident came into contact with the bat on Aug. 28. Officials sent the bat to Oregon State University where it was tested.
OHA officials said six bats in Oregon have tested positive for rabies this year, including two in Marion County. Between 8% and 10% of bats tested turn out to be positive for rabies.
Health officials stress that people should avoid contact with bats or other mammals exhibiting odd behavior. The most effective protection against rabies is ensuring pets are vaccinated and avoiding stray animals and wildlife.
When it is necessary to pick up a bat, health officials urge extreme caution, such as wearing heavy gloves and using a shovel. Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual.
OHA and MCPH further recommend:
• If you find a sick bat or other sick wildlife on your property, take children and pets indoors.
• If you do have an exposure such as a scratch or bite from a bat, immediately clean the wound and seek medical attention.
• If your pet encounters a bat, or has been bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600.
• In the event of bat contact, such as a bite or scratch, an attempt should be made to safely capture the bat for testing for the rabies virus. Efforts should be made to collect the bat without destroying the head. The bat should be kept in a cool place. Immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to Marion County at 503-588-5346.
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