Jackson County bat tests positive for rabies
By Ryan Pfeil
Mail Tribune Follow @@RyanPfeil
Posted Dec. 17, 2015 at 11:53 AM
A bat caught by a dog outside Jacksonville last week has tested positive for rabies, meaning the dog will be quarantined for six months.
Jackson County Health & Human Services public health division manager Jackson Baures said the dog caught a bat in its mouth Dec. 9. Test results on the bat came back two days later. The dog reportedly was not current on its rabies vaccination, leading to the quarantine that followed its revaccination.
This is the sixth Jackson County animal in four years to test positive for the virus, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority. In 2012, a fox and a bat were confirmed carriers, followed by one bat in 2013 and no animals in 2014. Two additional bats tested positive for the disease in August.
Rabies is transmitted through the bites of an infected animal. Early symptoms in humans may mimic the flu, such as fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort, according to the Centers For Disease Control website. More severe symptoms that present later can include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, an increase in saliva, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
County health officials said bats with the disease can sometimes be seen flopping around on the ground. Anyone who sees a sick bat or other ill wildlife on their property is asked to take children and pets indoors and report it to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 541-826-8774.
Anyone bitten or scratched by a bat should clean the wound immediately and seek medical attention.
Public health officials recommended dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies at three to six months of age. The initial vaccination takes about two weeks to provide peak protection. A booster is required a year later and every three years after that, Baures said in a news release.
“In keeping your pets vaccinated, you actually keep your family safe,” he said.