Bat bites person, tests positive for rabies in Miami County

It’s the county’s first confirmed rabies case in 7 years.

A bat captured in Miami County tested positive for rabies after it bit a person, according to Miami County Public Health.

Public Health was notified Wednesday of the positive test result. The bat bit a person the previous weekend in Miami County and was sent to the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory for a rabies test.

The last time Miami County had a confirmed case of rabies in an animal was seven years ago, in 2015, according to Public Health. Last year, Ohio had 37 confirmed cases of rabies in animals.

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The person who was bit began rabies shots in a timely manner.

The rabies virus is transmitted through direct contact, such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth, with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal, according to Public Health. The virus only affects mammals, including people.

Rabies is rare in people in the U.S., according to Public Health. Only one to three cases are reported annually, with 60,000 Americans getting post-exposure prophylaxis, or rabies shots, each year to prevent infection.

More than 90% of rabies cases reported in the country occur in wildlife. Raccoon, skunks, bats and foxes are the most common carriers. At least seven out of 10 people who die from rabies were infected by bats, according to Public Health.

Bat scratches or bites can be very small, but can still spread rabies. Bats have small teeth and marks can disappear quickly, according to Public Health.

To prevent rabies, Public Health recommends the following:

  • Leave all wildlife alone.
  • Know the risk: Contact with infected bats is the leading cause of rabies deaths.
  • Wash animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water.
  • Anyone who is bit, scratched or unsure should talk to a health care provider about if they need rabies shots.
  • Vaccinate pets to protect them and loved ones.

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