Welcome to North Shore Health Department North Shore Health Department Highlights for 8/20/2019 The North Shore Health Department has fielded quite a few bat-related calls lately, likely as the breeding season runs from June 1-August 15. Bats are responsible for the majority of human rabies cases. Rabid bats have been documented in all 49 continental states. In Wisconsin there have been almost 400 known rabid bats since 2002. Humans need to exercise extreme caution if a bat is found in their dwelling. Bat bites can be difficult to detect and the virus can be transmitted to humans from minor or unrecognizable bat bites, as well as from scratches. Bats should never be kept as pets. In the case of known or suspected human exposures involving bats, the bat should be safely collected, by an animal control specialist if necessary, and brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society for euthanasia. NSHD will coordinate the submission of the bat to the state lab for rabies testing. Rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment is recommended for all persons with bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to a bat, unless the bat is available for testing and is negative for evidence of rabies. Follow these tips on how to minimize exposure to bats: Prevent bats from entering outdoor living quarters and other occupied space by sealing all holes to the outside. Screens or mosquito netting can provide a useful barrier against direct bat contact. Teach children to never handle live or dead bats, and not to approach any unfamiliar wild or domestic animals (even if they appear friendly). Tell them to report any contact or unusual animal behavior to an adult right away. Keep all pets up to date on their rabies vaccines and municipal licenses. This will help to keep your family safe from potential rabies exposures via domestic animals. The good news is that rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care. If you are bitten, scratched, or unsure about exposure to a wild animal, wash the wound immediately and talk to a healthcare provider about whether you need PEP. To learn more about rabies and bats, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/bats.html To learn more about the prevalence of rabies in Wisconsin this year, go to: https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/RabiesMap2019.pdf and in past years, go to: https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/RabiesMap2018.pdf and https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/RabiesCountCumulative.pdf Missed the highlights? Click here to view previous highlights.