State vet offers advice after rabid bat found in Henry County


HENRY COUNTY — Despite the recent discovery of a rabid bat in Henry County, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health is telling residents not to be alarmed.

According to BOAH, while the diagnosis indicates the presence of the disease in the area, all Hoosiers should take a few common sense precautions every day to protect their family, pets and livestock from the disease, regardless of their condition. place of residence.

BOAH veterinarian Dr. Melissa Justice said bats are the most common carrier of rabies in Indiana. Rabies is a viral disease transmitted mainly by the bite of an infected animal.

Any exposure to humans or pets requires monitoring.

Dr. Justice recommends the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies for people and animals:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals (not just bats). Do not feed or handle wild animals. Secure trash and pet food in animal-proof containers. Cover attic and fireplace openings and other entry points to the home that might invite unwanted visitors.
  • Wild animals are generally active at night and avoid contact with humans. Daytime contact with humans is unusual and should be viewed with suspicion.
  • Indiana law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets 3 months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed, credentialed veterinarian. Pets should be kept close to home, as loose animals are more at risk of being exposed to disease.
  • If your pet or livestock is bitten or attacked by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian and local animal control. Your pet will need a reminder if the abuser is determined to be rabid.
  • Submit for laboratory analysis any bat found in the presence of a sleeping or incapacitated person. Likewise, if a pet or livestock has been exposed or likely exposed, consult a veterinarian.
  • If you or a family member are bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal or pet, try to confine or capture the animal if it can be done without risk of further injury. An animal that bites without an owner must be tested. A proprietary biter may be subject to quarantine and observation. Contact the local health department for advice.
  • Wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. Call your doctor immediately to determine treatment and make sure the bite is reported to the local animal health and control department.

For more information on rabies prevention and safety, visit the Indiana State Board of Animal Health online.

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