Questions and answers
about bat rabies
Is there a risk of
getting bat rabies?
You are not at a higher
risk if you have bats in your attic, cellar or behind your walls.
The possibility of getting bat rabies is very low. Only people who regularly
work with or handle bats, such as bat conservationists or zoo workers are at a
higher risk. The WHO recommends a preventive vaccination against rabies for such
How can people get bat
Bat rabies can be
transmitted by the bite of an infected bat or if infectious material (such as
saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound. If people do
not handle bats they are not at risk.
How can you tell if a
bat has rabies?
The only confirmed
diagnosis can be done by a regional veterinary laboratory. Clinical sign of
rabies in bats may vary considerably. There is no common picture of clinical
symptoms. They can show abnormal behaviour, e.g. being active at daytime, biting
and shrieking, being grounded and unable to fly. Rabid bats are often caught by
What can I do if I find
Keep calm. In case, the bat
is flying around in a room, leave just the door or window to the outside open,
so that the bat might leave. Do not touch the bat with bare hands!
Contact your local bat conservationists or the veterinary officer. They know how
to handle bats. If you try to capture the bat, use thick leather gloves and a
card box with holes for breathing. Put the box with the bat in a cool place and
wait for bat specialists.
What should I do if I
get in contact with a bat?
Slight scratches or bites
might go undetected. If you felt a contact with possibly infectious material,
clean the wound immediately. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap or other
detergents and leave it under rinsing water for several minutes. Seek medical
advice immediately but do not panic. A treatment after exposure is possible and
Bats dwell in my
building. What should I do?
Get in contact with your
local bat conservationists. They will be happy about new roosting sites. You are
not at risk of getting bat rabies. As a precaution for the bats and yourself: do
not try to approach or handle bats.
What should I do if I
find a dead bat?
Contact your local
veterinary administration or bat specialists. Species, gender, location, etc
should de notified. All dead bats should be tested for rabies for rabies.