A rabid bat was found inside a home in North Pulaski County on Jan. 13.
Sherwood Animal Services received notification from the Arkansas Department of Health on Jan. 14 that a bat found inside a home off of Northview Drive has tested positive for rabies.
"If you find a bat in your home, isolate it to one room, leave the room and close the doors," according to a release issued by the Sherwood Animal Services office. "Call either an animal control officer or a nuisance wildlife control company to capture the bat for testing. "
Most human rabies cases in the United States are due to unrecognized or unreported exposures to bats. Most bats do not carry rabies; only about 2-3 percent of bats are infected.
"But we cannot tell if wildlife are infected by looking at them and a laboratory test is needed," according to the release.
Arkansas rabies law requires that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age by a licensed veterinarian. One shot is not enough; rabies vaccinations must be kept current so talk with your veterinarian about when your pet needs its rabies booster shot. Even inside animals need to be kept current on their rabies vaccinations since bats occasionally get into houses.
"This protects the animal, and acts as a barrier between the wildlife exposures of rabies and people since pets are more likely to be exposed to a rabid skunk or bat directly than people," states the release.
Any animal given rabies vaccine by an owner with an over-the-counter product cannot be counted as vaccinated as there is no assurance the Sherwood Animal Control Ordinance requires proof of a valid rabies vaccination before a City Pet License can be issued.
City Pet Licenses are required for all dogs and cats housed in the City of Sherwood.
If an apparently healthy, domesticated dog or cat bites a person, it must be captured, confined and observed daily for 10 days following the bite. If the animal remains healthy during this period of time, it did not transmit rabies at the time of the bite.
Here are ways to protect yourself from rabies
• Be sure dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
• Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals
• Keep family pets indoors at night
• Bat-proof your home or summer camp in the fall or winter
• Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them
• Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they do not know well.
Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the nearest local health unit and then contact your local Animal Control Department. Do not let any animal escape that has possibly exposed someone to rabies.
Depending on the species, an animal can be observed or tested for rabies in order to avoid the need for rabies treatment.
For more information, call the Pulaski County Health Units at: Jacksonville, 982-7477; North Little Rock, 791-8551; Pulaski Central, 280-3100; SW Little Rock, 565-931, or Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, at 280-4136.
Sherwood Animal Service Officers will capture wildlife or bats that are found inside the living quarters of a home within Sherwood City limits: during normal business hours call the Department at 834-2287; after-hours call the Sherwood Police Department at 835-1425.
For Bats in your attic, call Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for a list of Nuisance Bat Handlers: 1-800-364-4263 or visit the website www.agfc.com.