1 of 3 bats found flying in Thurston County homes tests positive for rabies

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Three bats that were captured while flying around in some South Sound homes were tested for rabies, according to a release from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

Each bat was collected from a home where it was flying around in the bedrooms where people were sleeping.

Officials said one bat was caught by a cat, another by a dog and the third by the residents at one home.

The bats were tested by the Washington State Public Health Lab, which confirmed one bat tested positive for rabies. That bat was caught by the cat, officials said.

Health officials said the cat was up to date on its rabies vaccinations, but said it would receive a booster dose of the rabies vaccine for additional protection.

The residents who were also exposed to the rabid bat started rabies treatments.

Officials said it does not matter if a bat is alive or dead, handling a rabid bat can potentially transfer rabies.

To prevent exposure to rabies:

  • Don’t handle bats, alive or dead, or allow anyone in your family to handle one.
  • Don’t allow your pet to touch or play with a bat, and keep your pets vaccinated against rabies, as per Washington law. If you find a bat in a bedroom or with an unattended child, try to safely capture the bat and have it tested.

Health officials said anyone who might have had contact with a bat could be at risk of rabies and should wash the infected area with soap and water, seek medical help immediately and call Public Health at 360-867-2667.

Health officials said there have been four cases of rabies found in a bat in Washington state this year.