Bat Capture May Help Avoid Treatment

Department of Health reports recent uptick in treatment needs

A seasonal uptick in the number of bats found in Putnam County homes has caused increased rabies treatments because the bats were not captured.

“The important thing to remember is capture any bat found in your home, and then call the Health Department to find out about testing,” says Commissioner of Health Allen Beals, M.D. “Less than 2 percent of bats have rabies so with testing, the need for treatment should be markedly reduced. On the other hand, when there is no bat for testing, and exposure may have occurred, treatment is necessary,” he warns.

“Remember, rabies remains the most deadly virus. It is 100 percent fatal if untreated. Fortunately, post-exposure treatment is also 100 percent effective in preventing the disease. That’s why all possible exposures, absent the bat for testing, must be treated as a necessary safety precaution,” Dr. Beals continues. All possible bat exposures should be reported immediately by calling 808-1390. (Follow voice mail instructions for evening and weekend calls.)

An instructional video on “Capturing a Bat,” is available on the Putnam County Department of Health’s website at and via their social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, and on the New York State Department of Health’s website.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the county’s nearly 100,000 residents through prevention of illness and injury. Visit or visit social media sites at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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