Rabies is caused due to a virus, and it can prove to be fatal if immediate treatment is not given for it. This disease related to the central nervous system is not that common in the US, but there are still some cases reported. Most of the people who contract rabies get it from bats. Even cats are known to get rabies from bats. While this is common knowledge, most people do not know how do bats get rabies.
Rabies is contracted normally when someone is bitten by an infected animal. The saliva that contains the rabies virus enters into the body through the open wound. Where bats are concerned, they get rabies when they are bitten by their predators, like raccoons, opossums, foxes, skunks and cats. Once the bat is bitten, the virus has an incubation period, which can last for many months. After the incubation, the virus becomes active. The bat starts showing symptoms of the disease, and if this bat bites a person during this period, it has the ability to spread the disease. The bat has the symptoms of rabies for around a week and thereafter the disease progresses. The bat gets paralysis, shows changes in its behavior, and finally it dies. (See Reference 1)
It has been estimated that out of all bats that come in contact with humans and household pets, nearly 4 to 6 percent have rabies. The good news is that these rabies-carrying bats have a higher chance of getting caught. As per the statistics available, the number of bats having rabies is very low. Just about 1 percent of the entire bat population has rabies. (See Reference 1)
The best way to prevent getting rabies from bats is by ensuring that you do not come in contact with them. If there are holes in your home that can become entry points for bats, make sure that you close them. If you happen to come across a bat, make sure that you do not handle it without taking adequate protection. Teach your kids not to touch a bat that is grounded. (See Reference 1)If you have been scratched or bitten by a bat, you should wash the area with soap and warm water. If possible catch the bat that bit you and take it to the local public health department to be checked for rabies. Then, go to the hospital to get treated for rabies which will comprise of taking some intra-muscular injections. (See Reference 1)
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