CHELAN, Wash. – Health officials are concerned someone may have touched a bat found dead Thursday near the playground at Don Morse Park.
Animal control officers took the bat to the Chelan-Douglas Health District, said Health District spokeswoman Veronica Farias in a Friday news release. However, it had been dead for a few days and was not in the right condition to test for rabies, she said.
Farias said it looked like someone had moved the bat, and that person could have been exposed to rabies if the animal had the virus.
So far this year, three rabid bats have been found in Chelan County, according to the Health District. One was in Wenatchee, and the other two were in Cashmere.
A 50-year-old Cashmere resident was treated for rabies exposure after encountering one of those bats, according to the Health District.
In the past 25 years, four domestic animals in Washington have been diagnosed with rabies. Two cases of humans contracting the virus were reported in 1995 and 1997.
All mammals can contract and carry the virus, which is transmitted through bites and by infected saliva getting into the eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound.
Farias urged people to never touch live or dead wild animals and to keep their pets current on vaccines. State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies.
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