Bat Rabies Education - One Health Commission

Bat Rabies Education

batrabies@onehealthcommission.org

Our Mission is to raise awareness about bat rabies in the Americas by promoting health education in a multi-strategic One Health approach.

Rabies is a deadly, yet preventable, viral disease that can be transmitted to people by infected mammals, including bats. Bats are an integral part of our ecosystem, serving important roles like pollination, seed dispersal, and eating disease-causing mosquitoes and crop-destroying insects. However, people may be unaware of the health risk that bats can pose to people and pets through the potential transmission of the rabies virus. Not all bats have rabies, but bats are responsible for most human cases of rabies in the Americas.  

The One Health Commission Bat Rabies Education Team (BRET) is pleased to provide this webpage of educational resources and free downloadable educational posters (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to help get the word out about protecting bats while recognizing the potential for them to transmit rabies to humans and pets (see below for more information).

There are some key considerations that the public should be aware of regarding contact with bats.

You can’t tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it! 
        Rabid bats may exhibit none, some, or all of the following behaviors:

  • Daytime activity
  • Inability to fly
  • Flopping on ground
  • Unusual sounds such as hissing
  • No fear of people 

You can get rabies from a bat bite or scratch!

  • If you get bitten or scratched by a bat, wash the wound with soap and see a doctor immediately.
  • You should also contact your local health department. 
  • You can be bitten or scratched by a bat and not realize it. The size of a bite wound can be very small. 
  • If you find a bat indoors, don’t let it go. Instead, contain it in the room you found it in by closing all exits. Then, contact your local health department and animal control. 

Do not try to remove the bat yourself!

Help PREVENT rabies from bat bites or scratches!

  • Keep your pet’s rabies vaccine current at all times. There can be serious consequences (including euthanasia depending on your local laws), if your pet is not current on the rabies vaccine and is exposed to a rabid animal.
  • Avoid contact with all wild animals especially bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes or bobcats, all species that are occasionally infected with rabies. If you can touch a wild animal, there is something terribly wrong.
  • If you find a bat in your home, don’t let it go! Contact your local health department and animal control.
  • Always seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten, scratched, or have a close encounter with a bat.

Be sure your pets are current on Rabies vaccination. It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect both you and your pet.

We need bats! Please protect them and Do Not harm them!

They serve many important roles in our ecosystems, in addition to being incredibly fascinating creatures.

  • They eat lots of insects!
    • Mosquitoes which can spread diseases
    • Crop - damaging insects, providing a huge economic benefit to agriculture
  • They can serve as pollinators for a variety of fruits and nuts.
  • Some bats can also spread seeds. 
  • Bats are the only mammals that can fly.
  • Bats use echolocation (also called bio sonar) for moving about and hunting prey

April 17 is National Bat Appreciation Day!  Celebrate these amazing animals.     

See New York Times April 13, 2018 Op-Ed article:  Fighting to Save America’s Bats

 

Spread the Word with these Free Posters!

The One Health Commission, in partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and Bat Conservation International, has developed educational posters that can be downloaded and shared – for free! They are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese appropriate for adult and child audiences.

Never Touch a Bat - CHILDREN (English) (Espanol) (Portugues

Never Touch a Bat - ADULTS (English) (Espanol) (Portugues

                       

You can help spread the word by downloading and displaying these posters in your organization, neighborhood, office, school, post office, etc. You can also share with friends and post on social media.

 

Additional Resources:

One of the goals of the One Health Commission is to create networks to improve health outcomes and well-being of humans, animals, plants and the environment. With that in mind, BRET hopes to serve as a relevant and timely resource for any individual, group, or organization working to better understand or improve / update their bat rabies resources.

Get Involved with BRET!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Bat Rabies Education Team (BRET) was created when the One Health Commission​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​recognized that there was no focused health effort in the Americas to educate children and adults that bats can be infected with and transmit the deadly rabies virus. BRET is comprised of a group ​​​​​​​of dedicated volunteers who are actively working to promote our mission to raise awareness about bat rabies. If you would like to get involved, BRET always ​​​​​​​welcomes ​​​​​​​new team members. For more information, please contact batrabies@onehealthcommission.org.

 

Bat Rabies Education Team Members

Clarissa Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS
Chair
Biography

Peter J. Costa, MPH, MCHES, AVE (Hon)
Kedrion Biopharma
Biography

Jennifer Diethelm, BS, MPH
Biography

Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD
Professorial Lecturer,
Milken Institute School of Public Health
George Washington University
Biography

Juliana Galhardo, DVM, PhD
(Animal Sciences / Zoonoses)
Biography 

Jennifer Hulsey, RN, BSN, WCC, CPHT
Biography 

Malathi Raghavan, DVM, MS, PhD
Biography

Sara Reilly, BS, MPH
Biography

 

 

 

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