Positive Case of Rabies Found in a Bat in Thurston County

First positive case of rabies found in a bat in Thurston County for 2023


Submitted by Thurston County

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services (PHSS) is reporting the first positive rabies bat in Thurston County, and the thirteenth (13) overall in Washington State, this year. 

A bat found on a porch of a residence in Thurston County was sent to the Washington State Public Health Lab to be tested for rabies. On Tuesday, August 29, 2023, PHSS received positive test results for rabies. The individual who found the bat was advised to seek medical attention and initiated post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). It is not possible to tell if a bat has rabies just from its appearance. Whether a bat is alive or dead, handling an infected bat can potentially transfer rabies. 

To prevent exposure to rabies: 

  • Don’t handle bats, alive or dead, or allow anyone in your family to handle one.
  • Don’t allow your pet to touch or play with a bat and keep your pets vaccinated against rabies, as per Washington law. If you find a bat in a bedroom or with an unattended child, try to safely capture the bat and have it tested.

If you believe you or a family member may have touched a bat, or have been bitten or scratched by one, wash the area with soap and water. Contact your medical provider and call Public Health and Social Services during business hours at (360) 867-2667, or by calling WA Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 after hours and on weekends, or 9-1-1 if it is a medical emergency.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offers a free printable information sheet on how to bat-proof your home. 

Learn more about how to capture a bat indoors from the CDC website.

Read the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, “Living with Wildlife: Bats,” here.

To learn more about vaccinating your pets, visit the Department of Health website. 

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