Now is the time to keep bats out of the house.
The Allegan County Health Department confirmed a rabies case in a bat within Allegan County on Oct. 13 – the first confirmed animal rabies case this year.
The rabies virus is in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. If you’ve been bitten, scratched, or exposed to a bat, report to the health department by filling out the Animal Bite Reporting Form.
Most bats migrate in the fall or winter, so now is the best time to “bat-proof” a home.
The health department has these recommendations:
Examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry. Caulk any openings larger than a dime. Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft guards beneath doors to attics. Fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool, caulk, or other material rated for pest exclusion. Ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly.
If you already have bats in your home, observe where they exit at dusk. Make note of how many there are. Prevent them from coming back by loosely hanging clear plastic sheeting or bird netting over the areas where they exit. This lets any remaining bats crawl out and leave but prevents them from re-entering. When all the bats are gone, the openings can be permanently sealed.
If you’ve been bitten, scratched, or exposed to a bat:
- Wash the area with soap and water;
- Seek medical attention;
- Report the bite to the health department by filling out the Animal Bite Reporting Form.