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Health & Medicine

Uptick In Bat Rabies Cases Prompts Warnings In Lane, Deschutes Counties

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TODD CRAVENS VIA UNSPLASH
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Lane County Public Health was recently notified of another case of bat rabies—the fourth this year. A rabid bat was also just discovered in Deschutes County.

Rabies is endemic in the bat population. However, health officials say it’s somewhat unusual to see so many sick bats this early in the year.

The fourth Lane County case of 2021 was discovered by a South Eugene resident who collected the bat on their property and turned it over to Environmental Health.

In Southeast Bend, a dead bat has also tested positive for the virus.

The uptick in rabies cases has prompted warnings from veterinarians: Never handle bats and make sure pets are up to date on rabies vaccines.

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Credit Unsplash
Bats in flight. These creatures are important pollinators and help keep insect populations controlled.

Bats play a crucial role in the ecosystem—especially helpful with insect control. They are nocturnal--so if a bat is found in the daytime, it is most likely unhealthy. Rabies exposure usually occurs through a bite or scratch. It’s almost always fatal once symptoms begin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps data on bats and rabies in the United States.

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