A bat found in the Flomaton area of Escambia County in southern Alabama has tested positive for rabies, the Alabama Department of Public Health said.
The incident, which involved human exposure, is the second positive case of rabies in the past month in the region that includes northern portions of Escambia County, Florida, near the Alabama-Florida border. .
The bat was taken to the State Office of Clinical Laboratories in Mobile, where rabies was confirmed.
“This should be a stark reminder that all pets should be properly vaccinated against rabies, given the circumstances of rabid animals now in the same general area,” said public health veterinarian Dr. Dee W. Jones. of State. “It’s not uncommon to see clusters of rabies cases in wild and stray animals at this time of year.”
Alabama state law requires dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks and older to be up to date with rabies vaccinations and vaccines are also available for horses and other farm animals if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccination of animals reduces the risk of rabies infection if exposed, thereby protecting owners and caretakers.
In addition to vaccination, the ADPH advises the following to help prevent rabies:
- Do not let pets run free, confine them to a fenced area or on a leash.
- Do not leave uneaten food or animal remains near your residence.
- Do not illegally feed or keep wild animals as pets.
- Do not approach wild or domestic animals that are acting strange or unusual.
- Warn children not to approach any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.