A news release from the Yakima Health District has announced the Aug. 13 discovery of a rabies-infected bat near Moxee Elementary School in Moxee,

Staff from a  local veterinary clinic delivered the bat to the Yakima Health District (YHD), which shipped the bat to the state virology/epidemiology lab which confirmed that the bat was infected with rabies.

Health District spokespeople warn that a person who touches an infected bat or comes in contact with its saliva (spit) can get infected with rabies and there is no treatment for rabies once symptoms have started. Symptoms usually develop three to eight weeks after exposure but may appear as soon as a few days. Most everyone who develops rabies symptoms dies.

Immediate treatment can be given to prevent infection but the treatment must be given as soon as possible.  The treatment to prevent rabies is a series of shots given according to a strict schedule and a ll the shots have to be given before a person gets sick from rabies, or the shots won’t work.

Given the serious potential of rabies, the County Health District is requesting if any person or pet may have touched a bat near Moxee Elementary School, or were bitten by a bat, or  had saliva from a bat come in contact with an open wound, eyes, nose or mouth, call the Yakima Health District immediately at (509)249-6541 where you will receive information about how to get treatment.

Check to ensure your pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date and finally, If you find a bat, please contact Yakima County Animal Control at (509) 574-2500

For more information about bats and rabies, and how to safely avoid bats, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Rabies