Bat safety tips from DOH

FONDA — Montgomery County Public Health would like to raise awareness to residents of the County regarding recent reports of bat exposure. Bats reside throughout New York state in both rural and urban areas. Keeping bats out of your home is a good first step in protecting yourself against rabies. Bats are just one of the carriers of rabies; other vectors include raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

To bat proof your home, use polypropylene bird netting, fly screening, sheet metal, wood or various caulking compounds to close or cover openings that allow entry to the roost. Bats like to roost in attics, behind shutters, under roofing or siding, the underside of a porch roof, between the house and chimney, vents, rafters, behind hollow walls and in other sheltered areas of homes and buildings. If you suspect bats are roosting in your house, watch for them leaving at dusk, and make sure there are no more bats coming from the roost. Seal off any crevice observed, being aware that bats can enter through crevices as small as a pencil. The best time to bat proof is late fall through winter. Area wildlife and bat control specialists are available for hire in the surrounding area.

Bats infected with rabies quickly show signs. Avoid contact with any bat, especially one that is outdoors during the daylight, on the ground or paralyzed. Bats rarely attack humans; however, any physical contact with a rabid bat may transmit the disease. In some situations a bat bite could go undetected, such as when a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, or next to an unattended young child or pet. If there is any chance that contact with a bat has occurred to a person or pet, or you are not sure if contact has occurred, capture the bat without touching it. If indoors, close windows, room and closet doors, turn on lights, and wait for the bat to land. Wearing heavy gloves cover the bat with a pail, coffee can or similar container. If the bat is not captured or tests positive for rabies, every person and pet that had a reasonable probability of exposure should receive rabies post exposure treatment as soon as possible.

Immediately call Montgomery County Public Health (518) 853-3531.

For a video demonstration on “How to Safely Capture a Bat” go to the NYSDOH website at: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/

For more information about protecting yourself and your family from rabies, call Montgomery County Public Health at (518) 853-3531.