Does every bat carry rabies?

Bats have always had a bad reputation in the media and indeed within general society. This is potentially due to the many vampire epics that depict them as spooky or evil. However, it is also down to the general consensus that all bats carry rabies and a bite from these creatures can prove fatal. While there are fragments of truth to the statement, as bats can carry rabies, it seems that the notion has been taken and
made more fantastical, with the lines between truth and myth being blurred. However, we are here to set the record straight.

Do All Bats Have Rabies?

The simple answer is no. Bats, according to a study carried out by the CDC, have a 6% chance of carrying rabies, meaning that you have a six in one hundred chance of contracting the disease from the winged creature. This is still a very high figure and well worth a trip to a physician, however, it is not quite as definite as one might think.
The unfortunate fact about coming into contact with a bat is that there is no discernible way to determine if these creatures carry the disease. This can be confirmed through testing in a lab but outside of these parameters, it is a bit of a lottery and not a pleasant one at that.

bat on windshield

Will I Die of Rabies from Contact with a Bat?

If you don’t act fast to treat a bite or infection of rabies caused by a bat, then it’s likely you will die of the disease. Rabies is a fatal disease with no cure once it takes its toll on your body. There are thousands of confirmed cases of rabies each year in the United States alone, however, thanks to a vaccination treatment early on, this disease can be prevented. So, in reality, only a handful of cases end up being fatal. This is perhaps due to the fact that these people were unaware of the bat being a natural carrier of the disease and failing to notice that there was something wrong until it was too late. 

bats sleeping upside down

It is also worth noting that it is not necessarily a bite that causes you to contract this disease alone. This can be caused by contact with the animal when removing it from the premises or unknowingly ingesting any bodily fluids left around the home from the bat.

Best Practice When Dealing with a Bat

Due to bats being a relatively common pest in homes in the USA, one should exercise caution when dealing with them. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  •  Ensure that all younger members of the family are aware of the dangers that non-domesticated animals bring. Ensure that they know to leave these animals to their own devices.
  • When an animal leaves you with a wound, be sure to wash and disinfect the wound, then contact a physician immediately.
  • If a bat is in your home, contact a professional as fast as possible. Do not attempt to deal with this issue on your own to avoid the risk of contracting rabies.

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