Iowa health officials warn of bats, rabies
The Associated Press
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Iowa health officials are warning residents to be mindful of bats, which have become more visible in recent weeks as young bats begin to take flight and adults prepared for migration.
The Iowa Department of Public Health has recently received more calls about rabies in bats, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/TB4lGH) reported.
So far this year, 12 rabid bats have been reported in the state. There have been no human rabies cases, and officials want to keep it that way.
It’s important for those exposed to bats to receive a series of injections to prevent rabies, if the bat can’t be captured and quickly tested, said Jon McNamee with the Black Hawk County Health Department.
“Bats are a little tricky,” McNamee said. “If you’re in the room with the bat and the bat gets on you and bites you, that’s one thing. But we have a lot of our cases where people wake up in a room and the bat’s flying around, or they come into a room where their kids are sleeping and the bat’s flying around.”
A bat found in the same room as an unattended child or anyone who cannot reliably communicate what happened is considered a potential exposure, he said.
If possible, the bat should be captured and tested. A bat found in one’s home can be killed, but to be tested, it must be kept cool, be mostly intact and sent to the lab within 24 to 48 hours, McNamee said.
“If you can’t get the bat — or, as often happens, people hit the bat with something just this side of a Louisville slugger and make it impossible to do any analysis of the thing — then we recommend to go ahead with the shots,” McNamee said.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com