Grand Traverse Co. Bat Tests Positive for Rabies for First Time Since 2017
A bat from Grand Traverse County has tested positive for rabies.
Officials say the bat was sent on Friday and Grand Traverse County Health department got the results on Tuesday.
“Bat activity in our area peaks during late summer which is evident by the number of bats submitted to the Health Department for testing during this time every year. It is really important to keep the bat for testing when a possible exposure occurs.,” said Dan Thorell, Environmental Health Director, Grand Traverse County Health Department.
This is the first confirmed specimen to test positive for the virus in Grand Traverse County since 2017 and only the third since 2012.
There is no known cure for rabies, however post-exposure prophylaxis (vaccinations) are available and are given based on the type of exposure that occurred. The following are taken into consideration prior to administering post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP):
- What type of animal you were exposed to.
- Whether the animal you were exposed to is available to be tested.
- Circumstances of the exposure.
- Current surveillance data from the geographical area in which the exposure occurred.
These steps should be taken to minimize exposure to rabies:
- Vaccinate dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and other selected livestock for rabies and keep vaccinations current.
- Report any unusual animal behavior to Animal Control at the non-emergency number (231-995-6080).
- Unusual animal behaviors include, but are not limited to: bats active during daylight hours, excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth & aggressive behaviors
- Avoid contact with stray and wild animals.
- Keep pets under supervision in a yard or on a leash to minimize contact with wild animals.
- Teach children to never approach unfamiliar dogs, cats or wildlife, even if they appear friendly.
- Treat animal bites with soap and water and contact a medical professional immediately.
People waking to find a bat in their room or a child’s room should capture/collect the bat if possible to submit for testing. Test results are a critical component of the decision process for PEP. Bats have such small teeth even unknown or minor contact with bats has led to rabies infection. Contact the Communicable Disease office at the Health Department to report exposure to an animal that is known to carry rabies, such as a dog bite or waking up to a bat in your house.