Terri Hansen of the Pulaski County Health Department and Animal Control Officer Debra Tiede approached the county commissioners this week with an urgent message to county residents. Hansen says the number of calls concerning bats that have managed to get inside peoples’ homes has increased this year, with three bats submitted for rabies testing within the last five weeks.
She says it’s not yet time to panic, but it is time for people to become educated about the risk of being bitten by an infected bat. Hansen encourages people to close up their chimneys and fireplaces when they are not in use to prevent bats from entering the home.
One important thing to remember is that if animals are inside the home with a bat, whether they are suspected to have been bitten or not, the state recommends that the animal be placed in a 45-day quarantine to ensure it has not been infected. Also, if children are in the vicinity of the bat, the bat must be tested immediately, and the same goes for the elderly.
Hansen told the commissioners that rabies is also on the rise in raccoons, and residents should be cautious when approaching any wild animal.