Louisville, KY – According to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, 3 bats have tested positive for rabies in the Jeffersontown area since July last year.
The health officials also said that rabies can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.
In the United States, rabies is most found in wild animals including bats, skunks, racoons and foxes. Bats are the leading cause of rabies in the U.S.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. Without appropriate medical care, it can cause disease in the brain which can result in death.
Treatment for rabies consists of a dose of human rabies immune globulin and the rabies vaccine. Treatment is recommended for both bite and non-bite exposures.
Once rabies symptoms begin there is no treatment, in which case the disease is fatal.
Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, avoiding wildlife and seeking medical care immediately for potential exposure. If you encounter a bat in your home:
- If possible, close the door to isolate the bat in the room.
- Contact your doctor and LMPHW at 502-574-6650 right away. The health department will arrange for the bat to be collected and tested for rabies.
- If you know you have been bitten or scratched by a bat:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- If the bat tests negative for rabies, you will not need post-exposure treatment.
- If you do not know how the bat got into your home, you will also need to contact a bat remediation specialist to determine if bats are living in your home.