Three children and two adults were vaccinated as a precaution this week after rabid bats were found in two Cowlitz County homes.
“Mom, there’s a bat in the driveway,” an 8-year-old girl told her mother, Kim Mahnke, in the Rose Valley area Monday morning.
Mahnke went out to find her 5-year-old son petting the squealing, black creature that was attempting to fly. His 18-month-old brother sat nearby.
A registered nurse, Mahnke knew that bats are the most common carrier of rabies in the state. She threw a towel over the live bat, placed it in a plastic margarine tub and delivered it to the Cowlitz County Health Department, where it was found to be rabid.
The two boys were vaccinated. The family’s two unvaccinated cats had to be euthanized.
Another rabid bat entered through an open window in a Castle Rock home.
The family’s baby sitter saw a bat creeping across the floor of the living room, so she scooped up a 6-year-old girl and dashed out of the house.
Health officials assume the bat was in the home with the family the night before it was found, potentially exposing them to a bite. The mother, father and child will all be vaccinated.
“It has been very stressful,” said the woman, who did not want the family’s name used.
Two people have died of bat rabies in Washington state in the past 2-1/2 years.
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