A bat found in the vicinity of James Street in Poland Township was identified as positive for rabies by the Ohio Department of Health.
It is considered an exposure due to human handling of the bat, said Patricia Sweeney, commissioner of the Mahoning County District Board of Health.
This positive test brings the total 2013 rabies cases in Mahoning County to five: One positive bat resulting in two human exposures; and four rabies-positive raccoons, one of which resulted in three human exposures.
Mahoning County Board of Health officials remind residents to protect themselves from the threat of rabies by following these precautions: Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals and be cautious around stray cats and dogs; teach children to leave wildlife alone and be sure children know to tell you if an animal bites or scratches them; have your pet cats, dogs, and ferrets vaccinated for rabies and keep their vaccinations current; keep trash can lids secure; feed pets indoors, and bat-proof your home (go to http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management/index.html for instructions).
“If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal, call your doctor; if your pet has contact with a wild animal, call your veterinarian,” Sweeney said.
Report any bite/scratch incidents or other pet or human exposures to the local health department. In Youngstown, call the Youngstown City Health District at 330-743-3333. For all other Mahoning County communities, call the Mahoning County District Board of Health at 330-270-2855.
Additional information is available from the Ohio Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Program Web site at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhPrograms/dis/zoonoses/rabies/rab1.aspx or call 614-752-1029.The Mahoning County District Board of Health is sponsoring a rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, cats, and ferrets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Struthers Police Department garage, 6 Elm St.
Rabies vaccination for all dogs, cats, and ferrets more than 3 months old is required in Mahoning County. No appointment is necessary for the clinic. The cost is $6 per shot.