CHIPPEWA LAKE — Medina County’s fifth rabid bat of the year was caught last week.
The bat was found Thursday in a tree on a village beach and sent to the Ohio Department of Health laboratory where it tested positive for rabies Friday. There have been no reports of exposure to people or pets.
This is the second from the Chippewa Lake-Gloria Glens area and the most reported in the county since at least 2003, when four were found to be infected.
Experts told The Gazette in June, when the last bat was found, that the four rabid bats then accounted for 12 percent of the bats that had been tested this year — more than double the 4 percent to 5 percent expected for the total bat population.
Other rabid bats were captured in Medina in mid-March, Brunswick on May 16, Litchfield Township on May 29 and Gloria Glens on June 6. Health officials report that bats are the animal in Ohio most commonly found to have rabies — generally, 4 percent to 5 percent of all bats submitted for testing are rabid.
Health officials warn that residents should not touch a bat found outside or in their home. If discovered inside a home, attempt to capture the bat and call the Medina County Health Department. Do not release or kill the bat. Live bats are better for the testing process.
To capture a bat inside a home or building:
- Wear gloves and avoid direct skin contact with the bat.
- Avoid harming the bat’s head because that can make it impossible to test for rabies. Also do not use a glue board or drown the bat because that also may affect the rabies test.
- Contain the bat in one room by closing windows and doors.
- Keep room lights on 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 container.
- If necessary, use a net or long pole with a piece of duct tape (sticky side out) to capture the bat.
The health department also can provide a list of licensed animal control professionals who may be contacted.
If humans or pets are exposed to a bat, immediately contact the Medina County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at (330) 723-9523, option 3, or toll-free at (888) 723-9688.
If a pet is exposed to a bat, contact a veterinarian to check the pet’s rabies vaccination status and find out if a booster shot is recommended.
The Medina County Health Department said it will further advise if a pet is exposed.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.