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Rabid bat identified in Fredericktown

The Knox County Health Department has confirmed that a bat found in the
Fredericktown area has tested positive for rabies. This is the first confirmed case of
rabies in Knox County since 2012.
“The rabid bat was found by an alert vet-tech in a store parking lot,” said
Environmental Health Director Nate Overholt. “The vet-tech noticed the bat not
behaving normally, contacted the Fredericktown Police Department, who secured
the animal and turned it over to the health department.” The bat was then sent to
the Ohio Department of Health laboratory for testing.
While the most cases of rabies in Knox County in the past 25 years have involved
bats, it’s important to remember that most bats do not have rabies, said Overholt.
“But a bat that is active by day, is found in a place where bats are not usually seen,
such as in a room in your home or on the lawn, or is unable to fly, it is far more
likely than others to have rabies,” said Overholt. “Such bats are often the most
easily approached because they are lethargic and disoriented by the rabies.
Therefore, it is best never to handle any bat and to keep your pets away from
them.”
“The key to protecting your pets is to have them vaccinated, said Overholt. The
rabies vaccine is available from any local veterinary office. “For humans, the best
prevention is to avoid physical contact with a rabid animal,” said Overholt.
Rabies can also be fatal to humans if they are not treated. People get rabies from
the bite of an animal with rabies. Rabies can also be spread if the saliva of a rabid
animal comes in contact with a person’s eyes, nose or mouth. Treatment involves a
series of vaccinations.

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News Release
For more information, contact Pam Palm,
740-507-6533 or ppalm @knoxhealth.com 11660 Upper Gilchrist Rd. Mount Vernon, OH 43050
PH 740-392-2200 Fax 740-2392-9613
www.knoxhealth.com

Page 2 – Rabid bat identified in Fredericktown
If you are bitten by a bat or saliva from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a
wound — wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical advice immediately.
Whenever possible, the bat should be captured and brought to the health department
where it will be sent to a laboratory for rabies testing. There is no charge to submit a bat
for rabies testing. The health department is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. If the bat is caught on the weekend, put it in a container and refrigerate it until it can
be brought to the health department. Or contact law enforcement which can contact
health department officials to come pick up the bat
People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat. However, because bats have
small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, there are situations in which
you should seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. Those
situations would include: when a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person; when a
bat is found in proximity to an unattended child who is not able to describe what
happened; or when a bat is found in a room with an individual under the influence of
alcohol or drugs or with other sensory or mental impairment.
“It is frequently much easier to determine the rabies status of a bat which has potentially
exposed someone to rabies than to determine the likelihood of the actual exposure,”
explained Overholt. “Thus, in circumstances where there is reasonable probability of
exposure, people are advised to capture the bat and call the health department.” On
average, about 6% of bats tested by the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory are
positive for rabies. Therefore, most bat-related post-exposure treatments can be avoided
if the bat is captured and tested.
To catch a bat, you will need leather work gloves, a small box or coffee can, a piece of
cardboard and tape. When the bat lands, approach it slowly, while wearing the gloves,
and place the box or coffee can over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the
bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and then contact the health
department to make arrangements for rabies testing.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other
mammals. It can only be confirmed by laboratory testing. Rabies is usually fatal to
animals. While there is early treatment for adults, there is no treatment for an animal
infected with rabies. Bats are just one of a few animals that are common carriers of
rabies. Other animals that can have rabies and transmit it to humans are raccoons, foxes,
skunks and coyotes.
For more information on rabies, check the health department website at
www.knoxhealth.com, or contact Overholt at the health department at 399-8004 or
noverholt@knoxhealth.com.

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