BATS: BENEFICIAL TO IOWANS, BUT UNWELCOME HOUSE GUESTS
Bats are beneficial to Iowans because they eat insects, including many farm pests. One bat can eat up to 2,000 insects per night! Unfortunately, many populations of bats have been destroyed and many species are now endangered.
The prevalence of rabies in bats is very low. However, most of the recent rabies cases in the United States have been caused by bat-associated rabies viruses, thus any bat should be considered a risk for rabies. Bat should be prevented from entering homes and everyone should avoid touching bats. Information on how to peacefully coexist with bats by "bat proofing" homes can be found through Bat Conservation International at www.batcon.org/.
If a sleeping person, a non-verbal child, or a mentally incapacitated person is found alone with a bat in the same room the bat should be tested for rabies. The exposed person may need to be treated with post exposure anti-rabies treatments if the bat can not be tested, or if rabies test results are positive.
If you have any questions or have a possible bat bite please call your physician.
Please call Emmet County Public Health at 712-362-2490 with questions.
For more information on rabies and post exposure treatment, see: