Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets.
People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat. However, because bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, there are situations in which you should seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and contact Lake County General Health District (440-350-2543).
Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Infectious Disease Control – Rabies Program
246 North High Street • P.O. Box 118
Columbus, Ohio 43216-0118
1-888-RABIES-1 • (1-888-722-4371)
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Rabies Section MS G-33
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Bat guano (feces)
Bats play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. They eat insects, including some that can cause lots of damage to farms and crops. They pollinate plants and they scatter seed. Studies of bats have contributed to medical advances including the development of navigational aids for the blind.
Unfortunately, many local populations of bats have been destroyed and many species are now endangered. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They aren t rodents and they aren t birds. They will not suck your blood — and most bats do not have rabies. Because bats are mammals, they can develop rabies, but most do not have the disease.
You can t tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it; rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. So be safe; never handle a bat.