FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2021
Contact: Justine Lentz
Animal Services Superintendent
Rabies Positive Bat Found in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Animal Services responded to a service call late last week in which a Fayetteville resident’s dog had found a bat in the yard. An Animal Services officer collected the bat and sent it to the Arkansas Department of Health, where it tested positive for rabies. The dog is current on its rabies vaccination and is under the care of a licensed veterinarian for further observation.
Although such instances are very rare, Animal Services would like to remind citizens of the importance keeping their pets current on rabies vaccinations through a licensed veterinarian. Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system of warm-blooded animals, particularly mammals. It is usually spread by an infected animal biting another animal or person. Rabies almost always leads to death, unless treatment is provided soon after exposure.
In Arkansas, rabies lives and circulates in wild skunks and bats. If you find a bat in your home, isolate it to one room, leave the room and close the doors. Call either an animal control officer or a nuisance wildlife control company to capture the bat for testing. Most human rabies cases in the United States are due to unrecognized or unreported exposures to bats. Most bats do not carry rabies; only about 2-3 percent of bats are infected, but the Health Department cannot tell if wildlife are infected by looking at them, so a laboratory test is needed.
To contact the City of Fayetteville’s Animal Services Department, call 479-444-3456.