Highest number of rabid bats reported in Washington in a decade

Courtesy: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

12 bats have tested positive for rabies in August, the highest number in a decade, bringing the total for the year to 21.

The Washington State Health Department says the 12 bats were found at parks and private homes across the state.

Officials reports that although the number of cases is up, its unsure if it’s because of increased public awareness or other factors.

The health department says if you find a bat dead or alive your asked to take precautions cause it is the primary animal that carry rabies in Washington. If you suspect that a family member or a pet has come in contact with a bat, you are asked not to touch the bat and call the local health department for next steps.

Last year, 20 rabid bats were discovered. This is up from 2015, when nine rabid bats were identified. Typically, between three and 10 percent of the 200 to 300 bats submitted for testing are found to be rabid.