SEATTLE (AP) — Rabid bats have been found in Snohomish County, officials said Friday.
The Seattle Times reported that no people have contracted rabies from the bats but the county health department has sent out a warning and advice on safe bat removal.
Human rabies is rare in the state. The state Department of Health has reported only two human cases of rabies since 1985 and the last report was in 1997.
The state health department advises that any bat contact should be considered a possible rabies exposure.
Instructions for removing bats emphasize never using your bare hands and putting the bat in a container with air holes before contacting your local health or animal-control department.
The health department says 3 percent to 10 percent of bats tested in Washington are identified as rabid.
Rabies is a severe viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is almost always deadly once the virus attacks your body, but you can receive preventive treatment if you've been bitten or scratched by a bat or other potentially rabid animal. Symptoms normally occur two to eight weeks after exposure, but the incubation period may vary.
To learn more about bats, including those found in Washington state, click here.
What are the symptoms?
While early symptoms include headache, fever, and sometimes pain at the site of the exposure (bite), the disease rapidly progresses into a severe nervous system (neurologic) illness. Symptoms may include agitation, confusion, paralysis, and difficulty swallowing. Most patients die within a few days or weeks of onset.
What should I do if I find a bat in my living space?
What should I do if an animal bites me?
What can I do reduce the risk of rabies exposure for my family and me?