July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Health department: Bat in Medina home tests positive for rabies

MEDINA — A rabid bat was discovered this week inside an East Liberty Street home, according to a Medina County Health Department report.

The bat was found alive Wednesday in the kitchen sink of the Medina home.

The animal was sent to an Ohio Department of Health laboratory in Columbus, which confirmed a positive case of rabies on Thursday, said Colleen Rice, a community relations specialist with the county Health Department.

There was no exposure to residents or pets where the bat was found, Rice said.

The last local rabies case involving a bat was reported in 2011 in Medina, she said.

Janet Gammell, a registered sanitarian with the county Health Department, said homeowners called an animal trapper to capture the bat.

Rabies is common in bat populations throughout Ohio, according to Rice. Overall, about 4 percent to 5 percent of all bats test positive for rabies, she said.

“Many people don’t know that bats can carry rabies, so this serves as a good reminder,” Rice said.

Health officials urge people to attempt to safely capture a bat if found inside their home. Recommended steps include:

• Wear gloves and avoid direct skin contact with the bat.

• Avoid harming the bat’s head.

• Keep the bat in one room and close windows, room doors and closet doors.

• Turn on lights if the room is dark and wait for the bat to land.

• Cover the bat with a coffee can or similar container. Slide a piece of cardboard under the can to trap the bat and tape the cardboard tightly to the can.

• If necessary, use a net or long pole with a piece of duct tape (sticky side out) to capture the bat.

• Do not use a glue board to capture the bat because this affects the rabies test.

• Do not drown the bat because that also affects the rabies test.

• Contact a licensed animal control professional.

Officials ask people not to release a captured bat and instead to call the county Health Department at (330) 723-9523.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.