The Princeton Health Department is cautioning residents in the Linden Lane area to keep a safe distance from all wild and stray animals after two bats taken from different homes tested positive for rabies.
Over the last two years, several wild and stray animals have tested positive for rabies in the Linden Lane area. Last year a bat tested positive, Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser said.
If a resident discover a bat in the home, the resident should try to contain the bat to a single room or area of the home, and then contact the local police department. The police will report the situation to the animal control officer.
The health department is urging residents not to open a window and release the bat. In all instances of potential human exposure involving bats, the bat should be safely collected, if possible, and submitted for rabies diagnosis. Medical treatment is recommended for all persons with bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to a bat, unless the bat is available for testing and is negative for evidence of rabies.
Rabies in humans is rare in the United States, with usually one or two human cases per year. The most common source of human rabies in the United States is bats. Among the 19 cases of rabies in humans from 1997-2006, 90 percent were associated with bats.
The Princeton Health Department recommends these following tips to bat proof your house:
– At dusk, observe where the bats are exiting your home. this is their main entry point.
Once you know where they are entering your home, seal off all of the other openings and crevices larger than 3/8 of an inch.
– To seal these areas, you can use 1/4 inch hardware cloth, fly screen, sheet metal, wood, caulking, expandable polyurethane foam, or fiberglass insulation.
– To seal the principal entry point, wait until the evening when you are sure all of the bats have left. Don’t try to seal the principal entry point in June or July because bat babies are likely to be left inside
– Hang one-half inch bird netting about the opening with staples or duct tape, letting it extend, unattached at the bottom, to one foot below the opening.
This will allow the bats to leave but not enter again. After several days the opening can be sealed.
– Seal the openings between November 15 and March 15. Because most bats will have left for hibernation elsewhere, this time is ideal to bat proof a home.
– Some wildlife removal specialists, pest control companies, and other contractors provide services for homeowners unable to complete the work themselves.
Residents of Princeton are being urged to contact Princeton Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson or the Princeton Police Department at (609)921-2100 if they encounter a bat in their home, suspicious wildlife, or altercations between wild and domestic animals. For more information on bats and rabies, visit http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/index.html.