RABID BAT LEADS TO CURRY WARNING

July 26, 2000 12:00 am

GOLD BEACH A Curry County resident will receive a series of six post-exposure rabies shots after handling a dead bat that tested positive for rabies, said Curry County Health Department officials.

The hands of the person who handled the bat had scratches, said Barbara Floyd, public health director.

The health department would not reveal details about the person or where the bat was found because they dont want anyone to know who the person is.

The person who handled the bat will undergo a series of six shots within 28 days. The first is the rabies immune globin, which is followed by five rabies vaccination shots. The shots are expensive, ranging in cost from $1,000 to $1,500, said Floyd.

The cost is not covered by the health department. It is paid either by the insurance of the person getting the shots or out of pocket. The shots are not administered at the health department. They are administered by private practitioners, said Floyd.

The health department warns that people should not handle bats. Children should be taught not to handle bats they may find outside and to notify an adult if they see a bat inside a house, garage or other building.

Dead bats which are found on property or in the woods should be buried with a shovel. Tools can also be used to push a bat into a plastic bag for disposal, officials said.

Health department officials said the best protection against rabies is to avoid close contact with wildlife and with unfamiliar domesticated animals, and to vaccinate cats and dogs.

Cats and dogs that are not vaccinated are vulnerable to bites by infected wildlife and thus can bring the disease into contact with humans, officials said.

Rabies is a disease that is fatal to humans and most mammals and there is no cure. It is preventable in domestic animals through vaccinations, officials said.

Rabies in humans is uncommon, said Floyd.

Rabies vaccination and licensing is required for all dogs more than 6 months old, officials said.

Unprovoked animal bites should be reported to the sheriffs office and to the health department. Both the sheriffs office and health department can be reached at (541) 247-7011.

Questions about farm animals can be addressed to the department of agriculture at (503) 986-4760.