Rabid bat found in Charles Co. apartment

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WALDORF, Md. – The Charles County Health Department wants to hear from anyone who has lived in or stayed overnight at the Huntington Apartments in the St. Charles community since Jan. 1, 2012.

Health officials say a bat removed July 24 from an apartment tested positive for rabies. They want to make sure people are educated about the risks bats pose and that they are evaluated for possible rabies exposure.

Management for the apartment hired a licensed wildlife control contractor. There are reports of other bats hanging around the complex.

People who have lived or stayed at the apartments are asked to call the health department at 301-609-6840 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, or after hours at 240-216-4055.

What everyone should know is rabies can be transmitted to humans and pets through infected bat saliva.

Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Dianna Abney says bat bites can go unnoticed because the bites are small, and a bat’s teeth are very sharp.

Abney says the risk of getting bitten goes up if a person sleeps in the same room as a bat.

Most importantly, rabies can be deadly if the individual doesn’t get the right treatment.

For healthy people, the treatment process usually takes two weeks.

As for pets, the law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies.

Residents of the apartments whose pets may have come in contact with bats should make sure their pets have booster vaccinations.

More information is available from the Charles County government’s website.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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