With the changing of seasons it is important to take the proper steps to minimize potential exposure to rabies. There are eight different bat species in Wisconsin that often seek out man-made structures for their homes in cold weather. About 3 to 4 percent of bats tested by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene are infected with rabies, which can be spread to other wild animals. Rabies is a 100% curable human disease if treated with prompt appropriate medical care.
Here are some helpful tips to minimize the exposure to rabies:
- Vaccinate pet dogs, cats, ferrets and livestock for rabies.
- Comply with leash laws and contact local animal shelter associations if help is needed to find homes for stray dogs and cats.
- Stay away from all wild animals, especially those acting abnormally.
- Teach children not to approach any unfamiliar animals.
- Do not keep exotic or wild animals as pets.
- Keep screens in good repair and close any small opening bats could enter.
- Individuals traveling to developing countries where rabies is highly prevalent, or who are at ongoing risk of possible rabies exposure, such as veterinarians and animal control officers, should ask their doctor about receiving pre-exposure rabies vaccinations.