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Beware of bats: second bat tests positive for rabies in Brookline

Posted by Brock Parker  October 13, 2011 11:03 AM

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Health officials are alerting the public that a second bat recently caught in Brookline has tested positive for rabies.

The alert comes almost four months after the first bat in tested positive for rabies in the town in June, and this year more than 90 bats have been captured in Brookline homes and tested for rabies, according to the town.

The Brookline Public Health Department has issued a rabies advisory to emphasize the importance of capturing and testing any bat found inside a home if there is a chance that a human or pet has been exposed to a bite.

“If a bat is found inside a house or other building, do not release the bat outdoors until you can safely rule out an exposure,” said Pat Maloney, Brookline’s chief of environmental health, in a press release.

If the bat can not be captured, anyone exposed to a bite, including someone who might have been unaware of possibly being bitten or having direct contact with the bat, should be vaccinated, according to the health department.

Anyone exposed to bats should be reported to the Brookline Public Health Department at 617-730-2300. Since there is often no visible bite mark or scratch left on the skin because of a bat’s small tooth size, bat bites may go undetected, health officials said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “95% of people infected over the past 10 years were unaware they had been bitten or scratched”
Rabies vaccinations consist of a series of shots given over a period of a month.

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