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Three bats test positive for rabies in Otawa County, health officials track increase in cases

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Ottawa County, Michigan-Health officials in Ottawa County are tracking a clear increase in rabies-affected bats after three recently tested positive.

County officials issued a recommendation on bats on Friday, June 11.

Two of the infected bats were found in the Dutch region and one in the Hudsonville region.

According to Ottawa Count Health supervisors, State Department of Health and Human Services data show that bat rabies tests tend to be more positive across the state.

In fact, the current incidence is close to the “abnormally high” level of 2007, with 199 cases of bats and 11 cases of rabies found in other animals.

Health leaders recommend the following precautions:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals. Do not keep wild animals as pets. Also, do not try to rehabilitate wildlife on your own. Wild animals can carry rabies even if they look bad.
  • If you come into contact with a bat, you should call OCDPH 616-396-5266 before releasing or disposing of it.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if the animal is bitten or scratched.
  • If you find a bat at home, safely confine or retrieve the bat if possible and contact your local health center to determine if a rabies test is needed.You can find more information on how to safely collect bats Here Or in this YouTube video..
  • If you don’t want to trap or collect bats yourself, consider using a bat / wildlife control service.
  • Protect your pet by being vaccinated against rabies. Even cats that live indoors and never go out can encounter bats that invade their homes.
  • Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your animal is bitten or scratched by a wild animal, or if you believe you have come into contact with it without supervision of the wild animal. Even if your pet is vaccinated against rabies, additional measures may be required to prevent infection. If possible, you may need to safely confine or capture wildlife without touching them and have your animal tested for rabies, so please contact your local animal caretaker or veterinarian.

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