Be cautious around late summer bats, Maine CDC warns

Health officials in Maine are warning residents to watch out for bats, which are at their most active this time of year.

This March 26, 2009 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in the Greeley Mine in Stockbridge, Vt.
This March 26, 2009 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in the Greeley Mine in Stockbridge, Vt. –(AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marvin Moriarty)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is asking residents to be cautious about bats, which can carry rabies and are at their most active during this part of the year.

Bats are most active from August to early September. Maine CDC said the flying mammals are important to ecosystems, but can also spread rabies to humans, pets and livestock. Maine last reported a case of rabies in a human in 1938, but nine bats tested positive for the virus last year.

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Bats can transmit rabies via bites and scratches. Maine CDC has asked residents to take precautions in trapping bats, avoid handling them with bare hands and only release them outdoors if certain no people or pets have been exposed.

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It has also asked residents to contact their health care providers about potential exposures.

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