A bat found in the Flomaton area of southern Alabama’s Escambia County has tested positive for rabies, the Alabama Department of Public Health said.
The incident, which involved human exposure, is the second positive case of rabies in the past month in the area encompassing northern parts of Escambia County, Florida near the Alabama/Florida state line.
The bat was taken to the state’s Office of Clinical Laboratories in Mobile, where rabies was confirmed.
“This should be a stern reminder that all pets should be properly vaccinated against rabies given the conditions of rabid animals now in the same general area,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, state health care veterinarian. “It’s not unusual to see clusters of rabies cases in wild animals and strays at this time of year.”
Alabama state law requires dogs, cats, and ferrets 12 weeks and older to be up to date on the rabies vaccination, and vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies contamination if they are exposed, also protecting owners and caretakers.
In addition to vaccination, ADPH recommends the following to help prevent rabies:
- Do not let pets roam free, confined within a fenced area or on a leash.
- Do not leave uneaten pet food or leftover food near your home.
- Do not illegally feed or keep animals as pets.
- Do not go near wildlife or pets that are behaving strangely or unusually.
- Warn children not to go near stray or wild animals, regardless of their behavior.