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Albany County Department of Health Offers Rabies Prevention Information

Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 11:39 AM

Albany County Daniel P. McCoy and the county Department of Health today advised the public on how to prevent rabies in the event people find a bat in their home.

A small number of bats in the county have rabies, a fatal viral illness that can be transmitted by a bite of an infected animal. Because the teeth of bats are so small, there is a risk that if a bat is in a room with a person who is sleeping or unaware, a bite may have occurred.

“As the weather cools we find that animals such as bats seek shelter indoors,” said McCoy. “It is vitally important that people who find a bat in their home contact the Department of Health to determine if the bat is infected.”

In these circumstances it is essential to trap and submit the bat for testing to rule out rabies. If this is not done, the potentially exposed individuals will need to undergo rabies post-exposure treatment, a costly and time-consuming process that includes administration of Human Rabies Immune Globulin via injection, along with a series of vaccinations.

To date 67 individuals have received rabies post-exposure treatment in through the county at a cost of more than $158,000. The average cost per person exposed is between $3,000 and $5,000, as the dose of Immune Globulin required is weight dependent.

In the same time frame, the county has had 195 animals tested for the rabies virus; 11 of which tested positive. A significant number of individuals who received post exposure treatment would not have needed it had they submitted a bat for testing.

If there is any chance the bat may have had contact with a person or pet do no release the bat. Contact the Albany County Health Department at (518) 447-4620 to arrange to have the bat tested for rabies.

To capture a bat:

  • If indoors close all windows, room and closet doors, turn on the lights and wait for the bat to land.
  • Wearing heavy gloves, cover the bat with a pail, coffee can or similar container.
  • Slide cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside and tape the cardboard to the container.


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Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy