Bat found in Marion County home tests positive for rabies

A bat in a southern Oregon cave (U.S. Bureau of Land Management photo)

A bat found in a Marion County home tested positive for rabies Wednesday.

The bat was tested Tuesday at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the county announced Friday.

It was found in a home in the unincorporated community of Marion.

Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in Oregon, with 8-10% of those tested for rabies each year found to have the virus. Three bats have tested positive for rabies statewide in 2022, according to a news release.

People should make sure their pets are vaccinated and avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife.

“Public health officials advise taking extreme precautions before attempting to handle a bat. If it is necessary to pick up a bat, it is best to wear heavy gloves, use a shovel or both,” the county’s release said.

Bats, wildlife, or other mammals displaying odd behavior should not be approached. Infected bats may be seen flopping around on the ground.

Anyone who finds a sick bat or other sick wildlife on their property should take children and pets indoors.

County public health officials said following exposure to a bat, such as a scratch or bite, people should immediately clean the wound, seek medical attention and report the incident to Marion County at 503-588-5346. Anyone whose pet encounters a bat or is bitten by a wild animal should contact their veterinarian immediately or call the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600.

“If the bat has been captured, do not crush the bat or throw it away, as intact bats can be tested for rabies, which can help people avoid needing post-exposure rabies shots,” the release said.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian