Between five to ten percent of bats submitted for testing are rabid, because they are usually sick and injured.
Less than one percent of healthy bats are infected with rabies. Bats are the primary animal carrying rabies in the northwest United States.
Rabies is a severe viral disease that affects the central nervous system.
The virus is transmitted most commonly by bats in Washington State. It is very rare for a person to get rabies. Proper treatment can prevent rabies in a person who is exposed. Without treatment, rabies is always fatal to humans.
If you find a bat in your home, do not touch the bat. Wear thick or leather gloves and capture the bat in a can or box.
Seal the container and call your local health department. The staff will help you determine if any people or pets in your home may have been exposed.
Human rabies is controlled by vaccinating dogs and cats and by giving a series of vaccines to people after they have been exposed.
Vaccinate your pets, do not keep wild animals as pets, do not approach wild animals, and teach young children to never touch or handle bats, even dead ones.