Rabid bat found in Sweet Home

Audrey Caro Gomez

Authorities are urging Linn County residents to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies, after a bat found in Sweet Home tested positive for the disease.

Confirmatory tests were performed after a Linn County resident noticed a dead bat in his home, according to a press release from Linn County Public Health. County health officials did not respond to inquiries from The New Era regarding the type of bat and the actual location where it was found.

A cat and a dog in the home were not current on their rabies vaccines and will undergo quarantine for four months after rabies re-vaccination, according to county authorities.

Rabies is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected mammal and can be transmitted by saliva coming into contact with open cuts in the skin or onto mucous membranes.

While post-exposure vaccination is effective, Dr. William Muth, Linn county Health Officer, says the best plan is prevention.

Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual. If you find a sick bat or other sick wildlife on your property, take children and pets indoors and call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 541-757-4186.

Emilio DeBess, the state public health veterinarian, advises that dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies at 3-6 months of age. Initial vaccination takes about two weeks to provide peak protection for your pet.

After initial vaccination, a booster is required in one year and then every three years after that. Under Oregon law, dogs and cats or ferrets that do not have current vaccinations and are suspected of exposure to rabies must be euthanized or placed under strict quarantine for four months.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, bats are the most common carriers of rabies in this state.

Approximately 10 percent of the bats tested for rabies are positive every year. So far in 2016, 8 bats have tested positive for rabies.

This positive bat is the second in Linn County in 2016; the first was in Brownsville in May.

For more information about rabies, visit public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/DiseasesAZ/Pages/disease.aspx?did=41, or http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.