8 rabid bats captured in Washington this year

Bats are coming out of hibernation in Washington

EVERETT – In just one week, eight people were exposed to bats in Snohomish County. With the warmer weather, bats are crawling out of hibernation and increasing activity across western Washington.

The four bats, found in Arlington, Edmonds, Monroe, and Snohomish, were captured and tested for rabies, according to county health officials.

Those exposed were encouraged to undergo treatment for rabies as a precaution.

On Friday, the County announced that none of the four bats tested positive for rabies.

In fact, according to state health officials, 94 percent of bats do not have rabies.

However, a rabid bat bite, untreated, can kill you.

It’s universally fatal,” said Dr. Mark Beatty, Snohomish County health official. “There have only been 4 people who have ever survived a bat exposure probable rabies.”

In 2016, health officials reported 20 rabid bats. In 2017, that number grew slightly to 22 rabid bats.

So far in 2018, there have been eight rabid bats captured in the state.

Earlier this month, according to Thurston County health officials, preschoolers found a rabid bat outside their school before telling teachers.

In May, a University of Washington student was bit by a rabid bat before walking back to his fraternity house.

Health officials encourage anyone exposed to a bat to start rabies treatment out of precaution.

“When you see a bat on the ground, you never pick it up without gloves, because bats on the ground tell you that something is not right,” said Barbara Ogaard, bat specialist.

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