SKIDAWAY ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Health officials are reminding Chatham County residents about rabies safety after a bat tested positive for the viral disease.
According to the Chatham County Health Department’s Environmental Health office, the bat was found outside a home on Skidaway Island. Officials say there was no known exposure to the family.
The bat did have contact with the family’s dog, but the dog was up to date on vaccination for rabies and received a booster shot.
Rabies’ symptoms can range in animals, including biting, aggression or paralysis. A change in behavior, showing no fear of natural enemies, like humans, and foaming at the mouth can also be signs of infection.
Native wild animals, including raccoons, foxes and bats, can all carry rabies. To protect you and your family from rabies, the health department offers the following advice:
- Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
- Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.