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Health department: 2 bats test positive for rabies in Sylvania Twp., the first of the year for Lucas Co.

The health department says bats that are on the ground, unable to fly, or active during the day are more likely than others to be rabid.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Two bats have tested positive for rabies in Sylvania Township, the first of 2021 for Lucas County, says the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system in humans and other mammals. A person may contract rabies through a bite, scratch, or saliva from an infected animal. A bat bite or scratch may not be seen or even felt by the injured person due to the small size of its teeth or claws.

Health department officials say bats are becoming active during this time of year, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing.

Potential rabies exposure should be taken seriously because if left untreated, rabies is deadly.

The health department says animals do not have to be aggressive or behaving erratically to have rabies. Changes in behavior can be early signs.

For instance, bats that are on the ground, unable to fly or active during the day are more likely than others to be rabid. Never handle a bat that is acting this way.

The health department offers these tips to prevent the spread of rabies: 

  • If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials. It may be possible to test the bat and avoid the need to receive rabies treatment.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals you own.

According to the health department, Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28 states: “Whenever a person is bitten by a dog or other animal, report of such bite shall be made within 24 hours to the health commissioner of the district in which such bite occurred.” 

Call the Health Department at 419-213-4100 option 4 to report a bite and visit the health department website for more information.