Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department has issued a warning regarding rabid bats.
According to a press release, the warning was issued after a plumber was recently bitten by a rabid bat in Bethel Park. The man was then treated with anti-rabies vaccine to prevent the disease from developing.
If treated quickly, the vaccine is very effective.
The Health Department is asking for residents to, “report all bat encounters, even if they’re not sure they’ve been bitten or otherwise exposed to the animal’s saliva.”
Should you find a bat but are not sure if you have potentially been exposed to its saliva, try to capture it. The Health Department recommends wearing heavy-duty gloves and using a container with a lid.
After the bat has been captured, call a local Animal Control officer.
You should also seal up any access points in your home because a bat only needs an opening as small as three-eighths of an inch.
There have been 13 rabid animals reported in Allegheny County this year so far. Of the 13, six were bats, six were raccoons and one was a cat.
“We’re already up to six bats and six raccoons, and we’re only halfway through the year,” said Dr. Ron Voorhees, of the Allegheny County Health Department.
Those are the confirmed cases of rabies. The number of bites is higher, and the incidents are being reported throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Lots of times we don’t have the animal, and if we don’t have the animal, we recommend treatment to be on the safe side,” said Dr. Voorhees.
A total of six people have been treated with anti-rabies vaccine and none contracted the disease.