The presence of rabid bats isn't unusual and should be no cause for alarm, a county health official says.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- For the second time in less than a week, the Columbiana County Health Department has announced that a bat found in the city was infected with rabies.
The most recent case involves a bat discovered Tuesday lying on the lawn of a home in the 900 block of Andrews Avenue, Dantan Hutton, a county health department inspector, said Friday.
The bat was discovered alive while the homeowner was mowing his lawn, Hutton said.
The homeowners called the county health department, and the bat was removed and sent to the state health department for testing.
The county was notified Thursday of the positive test result, Hutton said.
No human contact with the rabid bat has been reported, he added.
On East State Street
Earlier this week, the county health department reported that a bat found Aug. 16 outside a business in the 1700 block of East State Street also had tested positive for rabies.
No human contact with that bat has been reported, either.
The most recent report brings to three the number of rabid bats found in the county this year. The first bat was discovered earlier this year in East Liverpool.
The presence of rabid bats shouldn't spark fear, Hutton said. It's common for some bats to carry the virus.
This time of year, bats are on the move more often, increasing the chances that a rabid one will be found, Hutton said.
Other bats collected
Since July, the health department has collected about 25 bats found throughout the county, and has had only two test positive.
The third rabid bat was handled by the East Liverpool health district.
If anyone sees a bat that appears to be ill, the health department asks that they capture it alive, if possible, and notify the agency.
The health department will take the captured bat in and send it off for testing. Agency officials are not responsible for capturing the bat, however, Hutton said.
Homeowners should approach bats with caution.
"There's always a chance you'll get bitten," he said.
The best way to catch a bat that appears sick and inactive is to place a small box or coffee can over it, then tilt the container slightly and slide a flat piece of cardboard under it. Once that's accomplished, the overturned container can be placed upright with the cardboard covering the opening, Hutton explained.