Bat Positive for Rabies

Onondaga County Interim Commissioner of Health, Michelle Mignano, announced today that the New York State Health Department laboratory has reported that a bat found in the City of Syracuse has tested positive for rabies.  This is the first positive rabies findings of the season.

Ms. Mignano stresses, “It is important to bat-proof your home now to keep bats out of your house and away from you and your family.”  Bats are generally most active between the months of May and August but are already out and more active.
• To bat proof your home, plug up any holes discovered with steel wool.  Also, repair window screen holes with wire mesh and caulk any other openings or cracks.
• If your family (or your pet) has been exposed to a bat, capture the bat and have it tested for rabies.  If someone is bitten by a bat, be certain to wash the area where the bite occurred with soap and water and see your health care provider immediately.
• If you awaken to find a bat in your room, or a bat is present in the room of an unattended or sleeping child, or in a room with someone with a mental impairment, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.
• Trap all bats found in your house and make sure that all bats that come into direct contact with people get tested.  Before trapping the bat, protect yourself with gloves and a hat.

To trap a bat:
• Keep the bat inside of your home (do not let it escape outdoors)
• Shut the door of the room to keep the bat isolated
• Turn the lights on to slow the bat down
• Collect the bat in a container with a secure lid
• Call the Onondaga County Health Department’s Animal Disease Control at 435-3165 for further instruction
• To view a video on how to capture a bat, visit

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It is important to keep your pet’s vaccinations current. This is especially important for dogs, cats, and ferrets. Getting your pet vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

The Onondaga County Health Department offers a number of clinics throughout the year to protect your pet from rabies. New York State Public Health Law requires that all puppies and kittens get an initial shot at three months of age, with a booster shot every three years. Ferrets must get a shot every year. For a full schedule of upcoming rabies vaccination clinics visit, or call 435-3165.