Accurate Rabies in Bats Information for Tweeters WAS: [Tweeters] Re: Bat close encounter, RFI

cb black at
Mon Aug 29 12:04:14 PDT 2016

I usually lurk quietly on Tweeters. Most of the posts that go by on a wide
range of topics is excellent and I enjoy them.

This post wasn't in that category.

Recent data on bats and rabies incidence from our local and regional health
departments is available .

Check out <> for
information from the CDC. The Mortality and Morbidity Reports are also an
excellent way to develop a sense of how people are being exposed to rabies.

Bats are the only rabies vector species in Washington. There are a couple
of different incidence numbers to consider.

For bats plucked out of the air in mist nets and other active bats doing
normal bat behaviors infection rates are 0.3 to 0.7 percent - three to seven
per thousand bats.

On the statistic of more interest to those of us encountering bats flopping
around on the sidewalk in the afternoon or brought into our homes by hunting
cats the rate rises by a factor of ten.

Rabies incidence in bats turned into local health departments from this
biased sampling is seven to ten percent.

Rabies is nothing to mess around with. It is nearly always fatal if post
exposure treatment is not provided. For this reason keep your cats indoors,
keep your dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated as required by state law, teach
your kids to not pick up bats and only handle bats with gloves, Tupperware
or, best, not at all.

"Contact" with bats requires post exposure treatment. Contact is considered
handling a bat without gloves or the presence of a bat in the room of a
sleeping or unconscious person.

You have time to get treatment - it is not an emergency room event - the
virus enters at a bite site and moves through the peripheral nerves heading
for the CNS. The next couple of working days is fine for seeking treatment
- but you must start the post exposure series. That series is 5 shots - one
of immunoglobulin and 4 of vaccine to crank up your immune system delivered
over 14 days. Shots go into your arms. I've found the vaccine which I've
been getting since the 1970s to be painless. The IG shot can be painless
if the person giving it warms up the serum and takes sufficient time to
inject the somewhat thick liquid slowly.

Clearly it is way easier to just not handle bats.

>From other Tweeters posts it is clear that many of you travel extensively -

one point I would make is to not pet those dogs while you are traveling.
South and Central America, Africa, South and Central Asia - really almost
anywhere - just don't mess with those dogs.

Hope this helps. Happy to answer any questions I may have raised on this

Curt Black - Bat Researcher / Bats Northwest
206 755-4541c
wr5j at



From: tweeters-bounces at
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at] On Behalf Of Scott
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2016 22:18
To: Sammy Catiis; tweeters at
Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Bat close encounter, RFI


Thanks for this so much. Yes, I've read that not less than 80% of our bats
have rabies, so no desire for contact--that's why I almost opted for the
back-breaker! Hope you're seeing lots of birds up there--any warbler or
flycatcher action? Have thought of coming by to bird your road area,
wondered what you might think...


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