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Bat tests positive for rabies in Johnson County, Kansas

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 10, 2018

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Johnson County, Kansas Health Department is warning people to be cautious after a bat tested positive for rabies. 

When it comes to bats, there are 900 different species around the world. 15 of those are in Kansas, according to Kansas State University. 

While they prefer the outdoors, some will seek other accommodations.

Overland Park Animal Control was called out five times for bats last month, so far this month that number has doubled.

"They're usually inside the house — blinds curtains, vents, anywhere. Sometimes they're inside the walls," Overland Park Animal Control Officer Jessica Cantrell said.

Cantrell explained to 41 Action News the protocol whenever she responds to call for a bat. 

"If anybody has been bitten or scratched or exposed to the bat, if they have — as a person, or an animal or a nonverbal adult or child — we always will be testing that bat to err on the side of caution to make sure it's not positive for rabies," Cantrell said.

But the Johnson County, Kansas Health Department said a bat in the county recently tested positive for rabies.

Such cases are rare, it's their first one in two years.

"If you find a bat that is dead or injured you don't want to handle it with bare hands. You would always wear gloves," Cathy Shemwell with the Johnson County, Kansas Department of Health said.

They also urge that pets should be current on their rabies vaccination. 

"If they're not vaccinated then it's a very long quarantine period or euthanasia for them," Shemwell said.

Although Overland Park wasn't the city with the rabies-infected bat, animal control wants residents to take precautions.

"They're definitely seeking shelter from the heat. They're looking for a cool place and a place they can call home," Cantrell said.