Racine County bat rabies case confirmed, officials advise

Racine County Public Health on Thursday, May 25 advised the public that a bat tested positive for rabies in a rural area of the county.

The bat was captured and sent for laboratory testing. Public health officials conducted an investigation of any animals potentially in contact with the bat, and quarantined and vaccinated those animals as appropriate.

While rabies is rare in the U.S., officials said, it remains a public health concern because several million residents are bitten by animals each year and the virus can be transmitted through saliva or nevous system tissue of several wild animals – including bats, foxes and skunks. 

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Racine County Public Health said rabies is a fatal disease but is preventable with the proper treatment. Officials advise the public to:

  • Keep pets up to date on vaccines and keep records of when they were vaccinated
  • Do not keep wild or exotic animals as pets
  • Do not handle wild animals
  • Teach your children not to approach strange animals, including others’ pets
  • Any exposure (bite or non-bite) to bats should be discussed as soon as possible with your physician and reported to your local health department
  • If your pet has been in a fight with any wild animals, please contact your veterinarian and local health department

If you or a family member get bitten or scratched, public health officials say to wash the wound immediately with liberal amounts of soap and water, and report to your local physician, your local public health department during business hours, or local law enforcement after hours. For more information regarding rabies in animals, please contact your local health department.