The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department received word Thursday afternoon that a bat found in Lexington has tested positive for rabies. The bat was discovered in the Gardenside neighborhood and there does not appear to be any human exposure. The health department posted signs in the area on Thursday to notify residents of the discovery.
LFCHD officials continue to remind residents to make certain their pets have a current rabies vaccination. There does not appear to be any contact between neighborhood animals and the bat, but officials ask that residents keep watch on their pets. Early symptoms of rabies include a change in behavior, chewing at the bite site, fever and loss of appetite.
Bats that are active during the day or are unable to fly might be suspect for having rabies. To minimize the risk for contracting rabies, it is best never to handle any bat. If you find a bat in your home and the possibility of human exposure cannot be ruled out, contact the Division of Environmental Health and Protection at (859) 231-9791 for help with having the animal collected and submitted for rabies testing.
To prevent bats from entering your home, carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats to enter the residence. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch could allow for bat entry. These openings should be blocked either with stainless steel wool or caulking in the fall or winter so you do not unintentionally trap bats within your home. Common ways for bats to enter homes include down the chimney, through openings around the chimney, through vents, through openings behind shutters, under doors, under siding, under eaves and under shingles.
Rabies, a viral disease of humans, pets and wild animals, is transmitted from animals to humans by the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite. State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets maintain a current rabies vaccination.