Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is testing more bats for rabies this month.
Experts say August is the peak of the animal’s activity during the year.
Dr. Tom Safranek, DHHS state epidemiologist, says that means more chances for bats and people to mix.
“We end up getting into situations where there’s a potential human exposure that requires the bat to be trapped and tested for rabies,” Safranek tells Nebraska Radio Network.
He says you cannot always see a bat bite, which is why testing the bat for rabies is needed. If you do not, you have to assume you may have been infected.
Safranek says the course of action is to undergo expensive and very uncomfortable medical therapy.
“It has to do with receiving an injection of an antibody solution that has anti-rabies virus antibodies in it along with getting the rabies vaccine. That combination is extremely effective.”
Safranek says prevention is key and bat-proofing your home, so they can’t get in, is important.
If you do come in contact with a bat, you should call animal control or the Humane Society to trap it, and seek medical attention immediately.
Safranek says you should never release a bat or destroy it so much that it cannot be tested.
DHHS reports 13 animals have tested positive for rabies so far this year. That includes 4 bats, 7 skunks, and 2 cats.