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Bat is 7th rabies case of year in Orange County

Posted August 28, 2015

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— Orange County officials on Friday reported the county’s seventh confirmed rabies case of the year after a bat tested positive for the disease.

The bat was discovered Wednesday by a Chapel Hill resident who found her indoor cat playing with a dead bat in the living room. The resident said she leaves a small balcony door open, which is likely how the bat got inside.

The woman did not touch the bat and called Animal Control. The cat does not have a current rabies vaccination, and the owner is making arrangements to quarantine the animal for six months, officials said.

“Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control for pets and people alike,” said Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services. “Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death for their pet and protect the public from rabies.”

Marotto said of the few rabies cases in humans in the United States in recent years, most have been traced to bats. The other dominant host species in the region is the raccoon.

Orange County will hold two low-cost rabies vaccination clinics next month:

  • Thursday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the River Park Farmers’ Market Pavilion, 140 E. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough. Cash only. Shots are $10.
  • Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Animal Services Center, 1601 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill. Shots are $10. Microchips will also be available for $25.
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