ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV.com) – A bat has tested positive for the rabies virus in St. Charles County.
The county’s health department confirmed Friday that a bat found in O’Fallon, Missouri had tested positive for the virus.
“Since bats and skunks have been found to carry the virus in Missouri, it is possible that your pets might encounter a creature infected with rabies,” said Sara Evers, Director for St. Charles County’s Division of Health Services. “Rabies illness requires mandatory preventative actions and extensive treatment, so it’s always best for people and pets to avoid contact with live or dead wild animals, unfamiliar dogs or cats, and any animals displaying unusual behaviors. The discovery of this infected bat also serves as a reminder that annual vaccination is required for all pets regardless of whether they are located in unincorporated or incorporated areas of the county and is the best way to prevent rabies infection.”
The rabies virus infects the nervous system and is found in the saliva of mammals. Pets and humans can be exposed to the virus through bites or scratches by infected animals.
The symptoms of the virus in humans include fever, body aches, difficulty moving, neck stiffness, brain swelling, and paralysis. In animals, symptoms are foaming at the mouth and atypical behavior.
Veterinarians can provide the rabies vaccine and registration to their clients. Anyone who needs financial assistance obtaining the vaccination and registration tag should contact the St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center at 636-949-7387.
Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a stray or potentially rabid animal should immediately clean the wound with soap and water, seek necessary medical care, and alert the Division of Humane Services or local police department.
If you see a stray or potentially rabid animal on your property you’re urged to call the St. Charles County Animal Control at 636-494-7347.