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Central Point bat tests positive for rabies

A bat found dead in a Central Point neighborhood last week has tested positive for rabies.

A dog in Central Point brought the dead bat to its owner Thursday, and the owner contacted Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services, said Jackson Bauers, the department's environmental health division manager.

Authorities sent the bat to the Oregon State University veterinarian diagnostics laboratory, where test confirmed that it had rabies, he said.

Bauers said the dog that found the bat had been vaccinated. Under state law, dogs and cats that don't have up-to-date vaccinations face either a six-month quarantine at the owner's expense or euthanasia.

He said it is especially important that people have their pets vaccinated.

This is the second case of rabies confirmed in Oregon this year. The first case was a bat in Linn County.

"This time of year, the calls start coming in" reporting that people have found a bat, Bauers said.

He warned people to avoid contact with bats, especially those that exhibit odd behavior such as daytime activity or crawling or flopping around on the ground.

If a person or pet comes into contact with a bat, the bat should be submitted to authorities for testing, Bauers said.

Statewide, about 10 percent of tested bats have rabies. Only bats that have had unusual contact with humans are tested, though, so a smaller percentage of all bats actually carry the disease, Bauers said. However, most rabies cases in Oregon are the variant of the disease that originated in bats.