KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rabid bat problem in the Kansas City metro is growing.
Less than two weeks after the Jackson County Health Department confirmed a rabid bat had been found in the eastern part of the county, the Clay County Public Health Center announced a rabid bat also has been found there.
The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory recently confirmed the positive rabies test, according to a news release Friday from Clay County.
Rabies is a viral infection, which is spread from the bite or scratch of an infected animal. It’s usually fatal if left untreated.
A Missouri resident died in 2008 from an untreated bite from a rabid bat, according to the Clay County Public Health Center.
“It is important to remember to avoid contact with wild animals, especially bats and skunks, as they can carry rabies even if they do not appear sick,” Ashley Wegner, section chief for Health Planning and Policy, said in a statement. “If you believe you have been exposed to a rabid animal, seek immediate medical attention from a health care provider.”
Getting pets vaccinated against rabies, not allowing pets to run loose and avoiding contact with wild animals (or thoroughly washing hands after contact with soap and water) can prevent the spread of the disease.
Wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior should be reported to local animal control.
A bat’s bite can be nearly invisible due to their small teeth, so anyone who comes in contact with a bat should seek medical attention as a precaution.