The Washington State Health Department said a bat tested positive for rabies last week, making it the second case in Whatcom County this year.
Ten percent of bats tested in Washington are rabid. Rabies infections happen when people come into contact with a rabid animal’s saliva. The virus attacks the nervous system and is fatal.
The last case of rabies documented in Washington was six years ago.
If you have been scratched or bitten by a bat, you should get to a doctor. If there’s any way to catch it safety, try to bring the bat to the health department for testing. Other important tips from health officials:
-Never handle, feed or play with bats
-Teach children to avoid bats and to tell an adult if they have contact with a bat
-Keep pets away from bats and make sure pets have current rabies vaccinations
-Prevent bats from getting into your home
Health officials say bats are important to the environment. They control pests by eating twice their size in insects every day.