A bat recently picked up by Chico Animal Control was found to be positive for Rabies. Bats are beneficial in that they eat a huge number of night-flying insects, including agricultural pests, making them a valuable part of our ecology. However, bats are also capable of carrying Rabies, and are the primary source of Rabies in Butte County. Rabies can infect all mammals, including humans. Because Rabies is 100% fatal once symptoms appear, it is important to prevent exposure, and if exposed receive anti-rabies treatment.
Rabies is transmitted by saliva, and is not transmitted through contact with feces, blood or urine. The most common route of infection is through a bite, but it can also be transmitted when infected saliva has contact with mucous membranes or a break in the skin like a scrape or cut. Any bat that is active during the day, is found in an unusual location (indoors or on the ground) or is unable to fly has a higher likelihood of being rabid. These bats are often easily approached but should not be handled. The only way to know if a bat has Rabies is to have it tested by a laboratory. If you find a bat under any of these circumstances, please contact Chico Animal Control at 897-4960 or Butte County Animal Control at 891-2907 to have the bat picked up for testing.
Animal Control should also be contacted if a bat is found in a room where someone has been sleeping, where a child has been unattended, or near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, because a bat bite is so small it could go undetected. You should also contact Animal Control if your pet is found playing with a bat. Do not handle the bat or attempt to kill the bat. While waiting for Animal Control, place a cardboard box, coffee can, or even a plastic soda cup over the bat to keep it contained.
If you are bitten by a bat, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. You physician can advise you on the right course of treatment. Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets. Keep Rabies vaccinations current for all your dogs and cats. These simple precautions will help minimize your exposure to Rabies.
For more information about Rabies visit https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html or call Chico Animal Control at 897-4960.
City of Chico Animal Services
2579 Fair St.
Chico, CA 95928
Animal Control: 530-897-4960