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Change in seasons brings increased rabies risk

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:23 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - With cooler fall temperatures moving in, the risk of coming in contact with an animal infected with rabies is increasing.

When temperatures drop, animals like bats and raccoons, who are the most common carriers of rabies, begin to seek shelter, which means they might try to get in your home.

Savannah Bergman with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department says the Eau Claire area typically only has bats that carry rabies, and their lack of bone structure enables them to fit through small gaps in homes such as under roof shingles or cracks in siding.

She says now is the time of year to consider scheduling a home inspection.

“They can contact a pest control company to have them come look at different areas of their home to determine where those openings of gaps may be that bats may enter during this time since they are seeking warmer environments,” Bergman says.

Jared Hanson works with Prompt Action Pest Control in Altoona, his company will come out and do that inspection at no charge.

“We start at about the 6′ level and we’re looking up because bats are going to stay up a little higher, so it is a lot of roof line work, ladder work,” Hanson says.

If you think you may have been bitten, Bergman recommends catching the bat.

Hanson says a butterfly net is the best way to catch a bat, but if all else fails…

“We can come and take that bat out of the house, if you know where it is,” He says.

Then call the health department and you can drop it off to be tested.

You should then contact your medical provider and ask if they recommend you get tested as a precaution.

Bergman says so far this year, two bats have tested positive for rabies in the county and she stresses the importance of following these tips to keep you and your family safe.

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