Health Department alerts residents about rabid bat

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Lexington, Ky. – The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department received word Thursday afternoon that a bat in Lexington has tested positive for rabies. The bat was discovered in a home in the Chenault Road area. The health department posted signs in the area on Thursday to notify residents of the discovery.

Rabies, a viral disease of humans, pets and wild animals, is transmitted from animals to humans by the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite. State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets maintain a current rabies vaccination.

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LFCHD officials continue to remind residents to make certain their pets have a current rabies vaccination and that residents keep watch on their pets. Early symptoms of rabies include a change in behavior, chewing at the bite site, fever and loss of appetite.

Bats that are active during the day or are unable to fly might be suspicious for having rabies. To minimize the risk for contracting rabies, it is best never to handle any bat. If you find a dead bat in your home and the possibility of human exposure cannot be ruled out, contact the Division of Environmental Health and Protection at (859) 231-9791 for help with having the animal collected and submitted for rabies testing.

To prevent bats from entering your home, carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats to enter the residence. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch could allow for bat entry. These openings should be blocked either with stainless steel wool or caulking in the fall or winter so you do not unintentionally trap bats within your home. Common ways for bats to enter homes include down the chimney, through openings around the chimney, through vents, through openings behind shutters, under doors, under siding, under eaves and under shingles.