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Emailcchd@co.chemung.ny.us
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Rabies & Bats


BAT RABIES  

Beginning in May and continuing through October is our local "bat" season.  Warm, humid weather increases the activity among bats.  Here are some important statistics and facts about bats:

> Since 1999, 97.9% of all bats tested in Chemung County were NEGATIVE for rabies. A very small percentage of bats actually have rabies.

> On the other hand, in New York State, almost all of the cases of human rabies were attributed to a bat strain of rabies. (There was no visible wound and the victim was most often not aware that an exposure had even occurred.)

> There are ways to prevent bats from entering your home.

> If you find a bat in your home, it is important that you capture the bat because the bat can be tested to possibly avoid the need for painful and expensive rabies shots. (See Bat Capture Procedure below.)

> Care should be taken not to cause too much damage to the bat in the capture process.  If the bat is deemed "untestable" by the laboratory, the bat is presumed to be positive.

> If you release a bat that is found in your home and there was a possible exposure, you may have to receive rabies shots.

> Finding a bat in a home is not uncommon, nor is it a crisis or an emergency.  It is important that you capture the bat.

IF YOU FIND A BAT IN YOUR HOME, PLEASE CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT AT 737-2019 DURING BUSINESS HOURS FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE.

Here are some questions that we will be asking you to assess your situation:

?? Was the bat found in the living quarters of your home??

?? Do you have possession of the bat and is it alive or dead??

?? Did anyone have known physical contact with the bat??

?? Was the bat found in a room with a sleeping person, an unattended young child, or a mentally impaired person??

?? Was there a suspected contact with an UNVACCINATED pet??

?? Was there direct contact with a pet, either vaccinated or unvaccinated??


We currently have 2 rabies brochures available.  One pamphlet is produced by the NYS Department of Health and is entitled "Bat Rabies in New York State" and can be downloaded by clicking HERE.  The other pamphlet created by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is entitled "Bats & Rabies" and can be downloaded by clicking HERE.


BAT CAPTURE PROCEDURE

To capture the bat, close windows, room and closet doors, turn on lights if the room is dark and wait for the bat to land. Wearing gloves, cover the bat with a coffee can or similar container. Slide a piece of cardboard under the can, trapping the bat. Tape the cardboard tightly to the can.  Contact the Chemung County Health Department at 737-2019 during normal business hours to determine if rabies examination of the bat is recommended.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO CAPTURE THE BAT YOURSELF AND DON'T HAVE A FRIEND, RELATIVE OR NEIGHBOR THAT IS ABLE TO ASSIST, YOU CAN CONTACT A LICENSED NUISANCE WILDLIFE CONTROL OFFICER FROM THE LIST BELOW (click on the link to obtain the list).

LIST OF LICENSED NUISANCE WILDLIFE CONTROL OFFICERS


 

Chemung County Health Center
103 Washington Street
Elmira, NY

Public Health
607.737.2028
cchd@co.chemung.ny.us

Environmental Health
607.737.2019
ehs@co.chemung.ny.us
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