Rabid bat found near Alki Beach pier in West Seattle – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

A rabid bat was found on the ground in the Alki Beach area, in the parking lot of Duwamish Head Condominiums at 1140 Alki Ave SW, across from the Alki Trail and Alki Beach Pier.

Anyone who may have come into contact with this bat (even if not bitten) may be at risk and should seek immediate medical attention or call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to determine if a preventive treatment against rabies is necessary.

Rabies is life threatening but can be treated if detected early and treated before any symptoms appear.

The bat was first identified on the evening of September 18, 2022. The Seattle Animal Shelter was notified of the bat’s presence on September 19, 2022. A Seattle Animal Shelter officer recovered the bat, which was still alive, on the same day. The bat was taken to PAWS Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, where it died on September 30. Public health was notified of the bat’s presence on October 5. Public Health tested the bat for rabies and received a positive test on October 6.

To date, Public Health has identified at least four people who may have been exposed to the bat and all are being assessed by Public Health. Public Health is also working to notify residents of Duwamish Head Condominiums of the potential risk.

Who is at risk

Any person or animal that has touched or had contact with the bat or its saliva could be at risk of contracting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear.

“Rabies can be treated if caught before symptoms appear, so it’s important to identify anyone who has come into contact with the bat as soon as possible,” medical epidemiologist Elysia Gonzales told Public. Health – Seattle & King County. “Contact includes touching a bat, being bitten, scratched, or other bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva.”

Rabies and Pets

If your pet may have been exposed to this bat, contact your veterinarian immediately. Dogs, cats, ferrets and horses should be up to date on their rabies vaccine, but will need to be revaccinated if they have come into contact with a bat.

Learn more about rabies

Rabies is dangerous, but treatable if caught early before symptoms develop:

  • If someone has been in contact with a bat, treatment can prevent infection. This treatment should be given as soon as possible.
  • Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.
  • The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually spread through a bite or scratch. Since rabies is a potentially fatal disease, medical advice should be sought quickly if a bat comes into contact with humans or animals.

If you find a bat

If you find a bat inside your home, call Public Health at 206-296-4774 to discuss the situation and determine if the bat should be tested for rabies. Public Health tests bats for rabies free of charge under certain circumstances.

  • Live bats should be captured and may need to be tested for rabies if the bat has had direct contact with a person’s bare skin or with a pet OR if a person wakes up with a bat mouse in the room where she slept
  • Use a shovel or gloves to put a dead bat into a box to test. Don’t throw it away!
  • Open windows and allow bats to leave your home if they have not been in contact with a person or pet. Close doors to other parts of your home and keep pets away from the bat’s location.

For more information on how to safely capture a bat in your home and how to safely avoid bats, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/bats

Originally published 06/10/22

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