Potential human exposure to a rabid bat found in a Boardman home Sunday may lead to vaccinations for the deadly rabies virus for family members.
The residents captured the bat in a plastic container and contacted the Mahoning County District Board of Health. They were advised to put the bat on ice so it would not deteriorate before being sent to the Ohio Department of Health laboratory for testing Monday, said Patricia Sweeney, county health commissioner.
Sweeney said there was “potential human exposure,” and the family has been in contact with the health board’s medical director, Dr. John Venglarcik, and their personal physician to determine if the person or persons exposed should receive the vaccination.
The bat was in a house in northwest Boardman between the township and the Cornersburg area in Youngstown, health officials said.
Rabies is a fatal viral infectious disease, and all mammals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, are believed susceptible to it.
Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin or onto mucous membranes from saliva. Treatment must be initiated soon after exposure to be effective.
Because of health department activities and medical treatment, human rabies is rare in the U.S. Ohio’s last human rabies case was in 1970, officials said.
Sweeney said any bite incidents or other exposures to potentially rabid animals should be reported to the local health department, and those affected should call their doctor for medical advice.
Sweeney said Youngstown residents should call the Youngstown City Health District at 330-743-3333 if they are involved in a pet or human exposure in Youngstown. Any other communities in Mahoning County should call the county District Board of Health at 330-270-2855, ext. 2.