Do all bats carry rabies?

This is the million dollar question when it comes to bats. Do not be driven to paranoia when you think of bats because you have heard they carry rabies. Let us understand this before we jump into psychotic bat killing missions.

Do they or do they not have rabies?
Well, bats can be carriers of rabies, but this is well below ten percent of all bat population. This however is not a license for you to go entertaining them in your attic or compound. Remember;

• In the colony you may have in your attic you do not know if one among them is infected.
• They are wild animals and controlling infecting ones or not is not a remote possibility.
• If they are within your compound, you are at risk of more disease than rabies.

Why do we say they are not all infected?
• Of all dead bats sent to the Center for Disease Control to test for rabies, less than 6% have tested positive for rabies.
• 99% of deaths caused by rabies originate from dog bites. How about that for the bats?

What do you look out for?
This is an important question as you may encounter a bat.

• A sick looking bat that flies your way or in sight is not one you need to handle without protection. If you have to touch it, ensure you are wearing gloves.
• Should you see a bat flying at the wrong time of the day, for instance during the day, and into wrong places (for instance into your living room), take caution, he may be sick and disoriented.
• Bury it in a deep grave or burn it up to ensure other animals do not try to eat it.

How might you contract rabies from a sick bat?
• Like any sick and frightened animal, attempt to hold it will elicit fear and probably that may cause it to react by biting.
• If you touch the body fluids of a dying or dead bat then you may contract rabies.
• If you come across a dead or sick bat, it is best to contact the Centre for Disease Control in your area. They will do appropriate tests to ascertain if the bat is infected with rabies.
• Should you, another person or a pet be bitten, ensure to seek quick medical attention to curb the chances or contracting rabies. There is nationwide state protocol on the treatment of rabies suspected bites. Especially those coming from bats.

REMEMBER: Rabies is a sure killer without proper medical attention.

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