2012 Media Releases

May 7, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Tim Timmons, RN, Communicable Disease Program Supervisor, 402-441-8056
Steve Beal, MPA, Animal Control Program Manager, 402-441-8080

Rabies Identified in Local Bats

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) has received three confirmed cases of rabies in bats within the Lincoln city limits so far this year. None of the bats are known to have had contact with humans, and rabies in humans is rare, but the Health Department said contact with a bat is the most common way for people to get rabies.

Tim Timmons, RN, Communicable Disease Program Supervisor for LLCHD, said the department also has received several reports children and adults who awoke to bats flying round in their bedrooms.

"Most bats do not have rabies, but you can't tell just by looking - rabies can only be confirmed in a laboratory," Timmons said. "It's important to know that any bat that is active by day or is found in a place where bats are not usually seen might be rabid. Also, any bat that is unable to fly and is easily approached could very well be sick."

Timmons said families can protect themselves and their pets by being aware of the facts about rabies and taking the following steps:

  • Vaccinate pets to prevent them from contracting and transmitting rabies.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering spaces where they might contact people and pets.

If someone is bitten by a bat, they should, wash any wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. In Lincoln, if you have a bat in your home, try to confine it to one room and contact Lincoln Animal Control at 402-441-7900. Do not open a door or window to release the bat because Animal Control often tests bats for rabies. Individuals who have encountered bats will be contacted with the lab results.

More information is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: animal).