SEATTLE — A rabid bat was found at a popular Seattle park over the weekend. It’s the second one found in the Madison Park area in the past two months.
It was found Saturday in Madison Park. Signs have been posted in the park urging all parents to call the health department if they were at the park on Saturday and if there is any chance their kids or pets came in contact with the bat.
It’s not an infestation or an outbreak but health officials are still taking every precaution and spreading the word.
“Because you don’t have to be bitten by a bat to contract rabies,” said Dr. Meagan Kay for Public Health-Seattle & King County.
Even touching a rabid bat can pass along the viral disease.
Health officials say a sick silver-haired bat was found clinging onto the bottom of a tree near the swings on Saturday. That is the same day John Lorton’s daughter was playing at the park.
“I’ll take every precaution to make sure that my kid is safe and healthy,” said Lorton.
Last month another rabid bat was spotted close to the park at Madison Beach.
“Bats found on the ground is abnormal behavior so we would be suspicious that it is injured or sick,” said Kay.
You also want to be weary of any bat that sneaks inside your home.
“I have no idea how to catch a bat,” said Lorton.
Using a fake bat, Kay and her team demonstrated the safest way to trap a bat. Always wear protective clothing and thick work gloves. Close all your windows and doors before grabbing a box or a container with a lid.
“Approach it very slowly, place the Tupperware over the bat and slide the lid of the Tupperware between the wall and Tupperware to get the bat contained,” said Kay.
Seal the box, pierce small holes so the bat can breathe, then immediately call your health department.
“We don’t want them to let them go we want to make sure we can capture it,” said Kay.
Officials want the bats captured so they can test it for rabies. Every year hundreds of bats in Washington are tested. Up to 10 percent test positive for rabies. There is a treatment for the disease but the key is to cure it before the flu like symptoms start up. Once that happens it is too late and deadly.