SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A bat near Forsyth Park in downtown Savannah has tested positive for rabies, according to the Chatham County Health Department.

Officials said it was caught by a cat inside a home near the park.

The cat was current on its rabies vaccination, the health department said. Meanwhile, the cat’s owner received a post-exposure rabies treatment and isn’t considered a risk.

The resident is working with a wildlife removal company to remove any other bats from the property.

The health department is urging residents and visitors to avoid contact with wild animals and make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies.

Several wild animals in the area can carry rabies — a potentially deadly virus — including raccoons, foxes and bats.

Here is some additional information from the health department concerning rabies and how to protect yourself:

  • 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.

If an animal ever bites you, the health department says to seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Health Services at 912-652-6575 and their Environmental Health Office at 912-356-2160.