CARTERET COUNTY - A couple returned home and found two dead bats floating in their dogs? water bowl. One of the bats tested positive for rabies.
The couple lives in the N. Railroad Street area of Newport. Carteret County Pest Management was called out and sent the bats for testing to the State Laboratory for Public Health. One of the bats tested positive for rabies.
Both of the dogs were up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations and, in accordance with NC rabies laws, received rabies booster shots within five days.
"The owners were not sure if their dogs had played with or had any direct contact with the dead bats,? states Tommy Bell, Animal Control Officer. ?When there is uncertainty, it is always best to give the rabies booster within five days of the possible exposure to rabies.?
NC rabies laws require that all dogs and cats be vaccinated at four months of age, at one year of age and then annually. There is also a three-year rabies vaccine available. If the dogs had not been vaccinated, their owners would have been required to quarantine the pets for six months at their own expense or have the pets euthanized.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease. According to the CDC, not all bats have rabies, but most human cases in the U.S. are caused by bats. Bat bites often leave small minor wounds but still require prompt medical attention.
Try to prevent bats from entering your home by eliminating open areas where bats may enter. If you find a bat in or around your home, call the Pest Management Division of the Health Department so it can be tested for rabies. If you or a family member is bitten, wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical care right away.
Rabies is common in other wildlife in Carteret County, especially raccoons, red and gray foxes, bobcats, coyotes, beavers and woodchucks (groundhogs).
For more information about rabies and rabies vaccinations, contact your veterinarian or call Carteret County Health Department Pest Management Division at (252) 728-8585.