A bat found in the bedroom of a White Oak Shade Road home last week has tested positive for rabies, police said.
Reported to the Animal Control section of the New Canaan Police Department on Tuesday, the rare positive test came back on Wednesday, prompting officials immediately to inform the family and advise them to consult their physician, according to Officer Allyson Halm.
Halm urged New Canaanites to ensure that their pets are up-to-date with rabies vaccinations.
“You never know how long a bat has been in the house and who it really has had contact with during its time in the house,” said Halm, head of Animal Control.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, less than 1 percent of bats are infected with the rabies virus. Even so, rabies can be transmitted even without a bite, such as if saliva from an infected animal enters scratches, abrasions, open wounds or mucous membranes through the nose, mouth or eyes, according to the DEEP.
The White Oak Shade bat was one of four found in New Canaan homes that were reported to Animal Control last week (and the only positive one), Halm said.
The first bat was discovered on West Road in a young girl’s bedroom and tested negative for rabies, Halm said.
Another was found dead in the kitchen of a Smith Ridge Road home, which did not call for an immediate rabies test. The state has changed its protocol and will only automatically test bats that have been specifically found in a bedroom or a place where someone who is sleeping, very young or someone impaired in some way, Halm said. In this case, the family paid a $285 fee to get the bat tested, and the results came back negative.
A final bat discovered was in a Silvermine Road home, and its results are pending.
Bats are “a nocturnal animal and they are vital to the environment,” Halm said.
“We don’t want everybody to panic when they see a bat. Healthy bats that are flying around your pool are a really good sign.”
According to the DEEP, a single little brown bat can eat 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour.
It is important to remember that if a bat is found in the home, it is never a good idea to let it free, according to Halm. The best solution is to contact a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator who can take the proper steps to remove the bat safely.
Here’s a table that looks at rabies testing results in the last reportable year:
Results of Rabies Testing in Connecticut, 2014-15
|Species||No. Tested||Tested Positive||Percentage|
|Dogs||693||5||less than 1%|