ALLEGAN CO, Mich. — Officials confirm a bat found in Allegan County tested positive for rabies.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) urges everyone to stay away from stray and wild animals as the best precaution against contracting the disease. Bites from any animal should be immediately cleaned with soap and water and treated by a doctor or veterinarian.
Bats can get into home through any opening larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch, through chimneys, broken screens and plumbing or electrical holes. Animals will start to seek warmer shelters such as well-heated homes as the temperatures start to drop. The MDHHS suggests protecting your home by covering any potential entry-points.
If a bat is already in your home, do not approach it. Wait for it to leave for the evening and then cover any entryways with bird netting or plastic sheets for the night to prevent bats from getting back into the home. A permanent cover should be put up during the day. Keep an eye on your local weather here to plan winterizing your home against unwanted winter guests.
From the MDHHS:
“The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. There are simple steps everyone can take to protect themselves from rabies:
· Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.
· Do not handle stray, wild, or dead animals.
· Keep pets indoors or supervised to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
· Use a leash when walking dogs or keep them in a fenced-in yard.
· Do not feed or put water for pets outside
· Keep garbage securely covered, as these items may attract wild or stray animals.