Children in Moses Lake are being treated for rabies after they were found playing with several dead bats. The rabies treatment was recommended by the Grant County Health District as the bats are too damaged to be tested for the virus.
Bats are the primary carrier of the rabies virus in the northwest United States. The virus is rare, there have only been two cases of human rabies in Washington in the last 20 years, but rabies is almost always fatal. A rabid bat was found in Pasco, WA earlier this month.
Between and five and ten percent of tested bats come up positive for rabies, this is partly because the majority of those tested are sick or injured, much like the dead bats the Moses Lake children were found playing with. Rabies is found in the saliva of a rabid animal and is usually spread through bites or scratches.
The Grant County Health District wants to remind residents never to touch bats and encourages them to "bat proof" their homes by making sure open windows have screens and small entry points are sealed.