flying batThe St. Louis County Health Department has announced that they are treating a man for rabies after he was bitten by a bat that tested positive for rabies. St. Louis County Health officials say this is the first rabies positive animal this year.

The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva or brain/nervous system tissue. You can only get rabies by coming in contact with these specific bodily excretions and tissues. Any animal bitten or scratched by either a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies. Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dogs and cats that are currently vaccinated are kept under observation for 45 days. Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released. This is an excerpt taken from the Centers for Disease Control recommendations concerning rabies exposures.

So don’t wait, vaccinate! Even pets that don’t go outdoors! The bat that bit the man in St. Louis County was in his home at the time of the bite.