Rabies

 
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED, CONTACT:

 
MA Dept. of Public Health Div. of Epidemiology & Immunization at 617-983-6800, available 24 hrs. 7 days 
or contact your healthcare provider or the Natick Board of Health at 508-647-6460.

PROTECT YOURSELF:

  •  If you are bitten or scratched, wash the wound with soap and water and call your doctor.
  •  Avoid animals not known to you, ask permission to touch someone else's pet
  •  Never touch an unfamiliar or wild animal, alive or dead
  •  Vaccinate your pets
  •  Report animals that are sick, hurt or have strange behavior: Natick Animal Control 508-647-9545
  •  Maintain your property and keep trash properly contained, put all pet food away

 PROTECT YOUR PETS:

  •  Vaccinate your pet dog, cat or ferret
  •  Always leash your dog
  •  Report any wild or stray animal acting strangely: Natick Animal Control 508-647-9545
  •  If your pet gets bitten by an animal call your veterinarian right away
  •  Get your pets spayed or neutered

 SIGNS OF RABIES IN ANIMALS CAN INCLUDE:

  •  Unusual behavior
  •  Wild animals that appear friendly
  •  Nocturnal animals that are active during the day
  •  An increase in drool or saliva
  •  Animals that act very sick or mean
  •  Animals that have difficulty moving
  •  Animals that are already dead

A BAT IN YOUR HOME?

In Massachusetts, bats may be found in houses or apartments, particularly during the late summer. If any person or pet may have had contact with the bat, it will be necessary to capture the bat and have it tested for rabies.

Bats sometimes carry rabies and may spread it to people or animals if they bite or scratch them. Fortunately, if a person is exposed to rabies, they can be treated to prevent them from getting the disease. Only 5% of bats  submitted to the MA Dept. of Public Health for testing are rabid. This means that most of the time, treatment is not necessary when the bat is available for testing.

IF YOU FIND A BAT IN YOUR HOME, FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

 1. First, figure out if a person or pet may have had direct contact with the bat. Contact is considered to be a bite, scratch or other physical contact. If contact occurred, immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water, seek medical attention for people and/or pets and contact your local health department.

 2. If direct contact did not occur, determine if contact was possible.  The possibility of contact exists if a bat was close to an unattended child, a person who was sleeping, a person with sensory or mental impairment or a pet.

 3. If direct contact or possible contact occurred, capture the bat without touching it and without damaging its head.  (The brain is needed for rabies testing. Avoid actions such as crushing the head or swatting a bat with a tennis racket; it could damage the brain and make it impossible to test. Refer to the Related Document "Capturing a Bat:  What You Need and How to Do It."

4. If you are certain there was no possibility of contact between the bat and any human or pet, the bat can be allowed to leave on its own, or if already captured, it can be released.

5.  To allow a bat to leave a home, close the room and closet doors, open windows, turn on a light (if the room is dim) and observe the bat until it leaves.  Be sure to close the windows once the bat has left.

6.   To release a captured bat, take the container outdoors and wearing gloves (heavy, preferable pliable thick     leather) remove the lid to allow the bat to fly away.