Lincoln County (Sept. 21, 2020) – A rabies-infected bat was discovered this week in the area around Bell Cow Lake, located within the Chandler city limits in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. This is the second rabies-positive bat found in the area in the past 6 weeks.
“Oklahoma is seeing more cases of rabies in the state this year than previous years,” State Public Health Veterinarian LeMac’ Morris said. “With more sightings of skunks and bats, this is the perfect time to remind pet owners about the importance of vaccinating family pets, and even livestock.”
Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with breaks in the skin or if a person came in contact with brain tissue.
Skunks and bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Oklahoma. Exposure to rabies should always be considered if a human or pet comes in contact with a skunk or bat.
Rabies infected animals can appear very aggressive or may act very tame. They may also exhibit the classic sign of foaming at the mouth or drooling, but not always. Any wildlife that is acting abnormally should be reported and avoided. Animals can also transmit rabies days before showing symptoms.
Both of the infected bats in Lincoln County were found outdoors, on the ground, displaying aggressive, erratic behavior.
If you find a disabled or dead bat in your home or camp please have it tested for rabies. If you suspect your pet or any animal has been exposed to a rabid animal, immediately contact your local veterinarian or animal control facility.
Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, sheep, cattle, and horses. Oklahoma requires a veterinarian to vaccinate dogs, cats and ferrets against rabies by the time the animal is 4 months of age, and at regular intervals thereafter.
For an evaluation of rabies risk, or guidance on a suspected rabies case, please contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Acute Disease Service at (405) 271-4060.