A bat found in a Springfield family’s home last week has tested positive for the rabies virus, health officials confirmed Wednesday.
The family captured the bat Friday and turned it over to the Clark County Combined Health District for testing by the Ohio Department of Health.
It’s the first bat to have tested positive for rabies in Clark County this year, health district spokesman Vince Carter said. Since 2006, 25 bats in Clark County have tested positive for the virus.
Carter said the bat was located in the 45505 ZIP code, which includes the northeast portion of Springfield and parts of Springfield and Moorefield twps., but declined to give a more specific area, citing health information privacy laws.
Rabies is a virus that travels through the central nervous system to the brain, according to the health district. “Once it reaches the brain, the disease nearly always causes death,” the health district said in a news release.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, most human exposure to rabies is caused by bites from infected animals. No bites were reported from the bat found this year.
Bats are the most common carriers of rabies, according to the health district, but other animals are known to carry it.
However, bats have been the only animal to test positive for rabies in Clark County since 2005.
The health district said the presence of an infected animal in the area means local residents should be concerned about the possibility of more and take proper precautions.
“We’re concerned about them coming in contact with humans,” Carter said.
Children and adults should avoid handling, feeding or unintentionally attracting wild animals with open garbage cans or litter. Residents should also have their dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated.
Those who believe they’ve been exposed to a bat should seek immediate medical attention at a local emergency room or urgent care and explain that they may have been exposed to a bat.
It’s best if the bat is captured so that it can be tested. If a resident believes they cannot capture a bat on their own, they should call a wildlife specialist or the health district at 937-390-5600.
Number of Clark County rabid bats
2006 – 9
2007 – 5
2008 – 3
2009 – 0
2010 – 1
2011 – 0
2012 – 5
2013 – 1
Staying with the Story
The Springfield News-Sun provides in-depth coverage of public health concerns, including tracking reports of rabid bats.