The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting a rabid bat was found in Clinton County.

The bat was one of 23 rabid animals found in Iowa this year, according to the IDPH’s report from Aug. 13. Reports from previous years show no other recorded cases of rabies in Clinton County through 2005, the first year available through the IDPH’s website.

“It is very, very infrequent,” Clinton County Health Department Director of Environmental Services Bob Summers said.

State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Ann Garvey said while there is usually an increase in rabies reported in August and September, finding rabid bats is not uncommon.  

“We have rabies cases reported every year in Iowa,” Garvey said. “We always presume there are rabid bats in our state.”

The rabid bat in Clinton County was one of 10 bats found in the state. Of the other reported cases of rabid animals eight were skunks, four were cattle and one was a cat.  None of the surrounding counties in Iowa or Illinois reported rabid animals.   

Garvey advises people who have been bitten, suspect they may have been bitten because of direct contact or have awakened in a room with a bat to take steps to ensure they have not contracted rabies.

“If they’re able to capture the bat to get it tested, that’s the best. If they can’t get the bat tested, they should contact their health care provider,” Garvey said.

The IDPH offers rabies consultations during and after business hours.  Those seeking a consultation should call 1-800-326-2736 during business hours and (515) 323-4360 after hours.

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