So far this year, 5 rabid bats have been found in Washington

SEATTLE — Officials say five rabid bats have been found in Washington so far this year, and two of them came from Snohomish County.

Rabies is a deadly disease which bats can pass on to humans through small bites and scratches.

The Seattle Times reported Friday that no people have contracted rabies from the bats but the county health department has sent out a warning.

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.

Bats like to “hang out” in vacation cabins, attics, barns and outbuildings, and wherever there are plenty of insects they can eat.

Anyone who might have been bitten, scratched or simply sleeping in a room where a bat is later found should contact the Snohomish Health District’s Communicable Disease team at 425-339-5278.

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?