MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health has received notification of this year’s first confirmed positive rabies case in the Town of Ellery. The case involved a bat, which landed on and was brushed off of an individual’s head. Although there was no evidence of a bite, rabies prevention shots are ordered when it is confirmed or suspected that a human has had bare skin contact with the saliva of a rabid animal. Rabies almost always leads to death without prompt treatment.
County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says human contact with bats should be avoided and because pets are more at risk from rabid bats, all dogs, cats and ferrets more than three months old need to be vaccinated, as required by law, against rabies. Bats infected with rabies quickly show signs. Avoid contact with any bat but especially one that is outdoors during daylight, on the ground, or paralyzed.
If there is any chance that contact with a bat occurred to a person or pet or you’re not sure if contact occurred, capture the bat without touching it. You should also immediately call the Chautauqua County Health Department at 1-866-604-6789.