COLUMBUS — An Ohio Department of Health laboratory report has confirmed that a bat found in a Mahoning County residence has tested positive for the rabies virus. Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis and a serious public health threat. All mammals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, are believed susceptible to the disease.
Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin or onto mucous membranes from saliva.
The Mahoning County District Board of Health reminds residents to protect themselves from rabies by following these precautions: Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals and be cautious around stray cats and dogs.
Teach children to leave wildlife alone and be sure your child knows to tell you if an animal bites or scratches them.
Have your pet cats, dogs and ferrets vaccinated for rabies and keep their vaccinations current. Keep trash can lids secure. Open containers can attract wildlife.
Feed pets indoors. Never leave food outdoors that can attract wildlife.
Bat-proof your home. For instructions visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Report any bite incidents or other exposures to your local health department and call your doctor for medical advice. Contact the Youngstown City Health District at 330-743-3333 if you are involved in a pet or human exposure in Youngstown. Contact the Mahoning County District Board of Health at 330-270-2855, menu selection 2, if you are involved in a pet or human exposure in all other Mahoning County communities.
Additional information can be obtained from the Ohio Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Program by phone at 614-752-1029, menu selection #2, or can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/.