Do All Bats Have Rabies?

Many people are concerned about contracting rabies from bats.  Like many wild animals, bats can and do contract rabies; however, it has been estimated that only about ½ of 1% actually do. Around the world, the vast majority of human rabies cases come from contact with a rabid dog. Here in America, with so many of our dogs vaccinated against rabies, the majority of human cases do come from contact with rabid wildlife. Fortunately human rabies cases are quite rare in the U.S, since rabies is nearly 100% fatal. Once symptoms manifest, it is too late to save someone. Rabies can be easily prevented by taking the rabies vaccine immediately after exposure. You cannot get rabies from guano (bat feces) or bat urine, but some callers have expressed concern about histoplasmosis.

If you have been bit by a bat (which is rare), be sure to go to the nearest hospital for treatment.  Bats by nature are very calm and gentle, so if they do exhibit aggressive behavior such as biting, there is a good chance that the bat has contracted rabies and you do need to seek treatment immediately.

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