Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County authorities are cautioning residents of a Fayetteville apartment complex after two dead bats found in the past month on the property tested positive for rabies.
Animal Control officers picked up the first bat from Melvin Place, off Rosehill Road, on June 15. The second dead bat was found Monday.
Officials are advising parents who live at the complex to talk to their children to find out whether they may have had contact with the bat in the last few days.
"It is critical that anyone who may have contact with the bat to seek treatment," county spokeswoman Sally Shutt said in a statement Tuesday. "Environmental health officials will be hand-delivering notices this afternoon in the area."
Residents who think they may have come into contact with the bat should call 910-433-3707. Officials also warned parents that more infected animals could be in the area.
"We've got two positives. Chances are there's more behind them," said Tom Turturro with the Cumberland County Health Department.
"Make sure you watch the area your kids are playing in," said Melvin Place resident Tarea Price. "Make sure you do a thorough search before you let your kids run out and play with no supervision."
Resident Sean Hall said he is worried about his 1-year-old daughter.
"She likes to touch everything, everything," he said. "She can be out here, and I can turn my head for a couple of seconds and she can get bit."
The bat found Monday is the sixth confirmed case of rabies in Cumberland County this year, she said.
Durham County reported its eighth case of rabies Monday after a raccoon tested positive for the disease. A homeowner in the 1200 block of Eva Street reported a sickly raccoon stumbling in her yard, and Animal Control officers trapped the animal.
Officials say residents should avoid wild animals, keep their distance from stray dogs and cats, and make sure their own pets are vaccinated.
The Animal Services Division, at 3005 Glenn Road in Durham, offers $10 rabies vaccinations for pets from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays. No appointment is needed. For more information, call 919-560-0630.
Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal should wash the wound with soap for 10 minutes and seek medical attention.
In Cumberland County, call Animal Control at 910-321-6852 during business hours or the sheriff’s office at 910-323-1500 after-hours.