Bat in town of Clayton reported to have rabies


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (Oct. 22, 2020) – The New York State Department of Health laboratory has reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service that a bat has tested positive for rabies. The bat was located inside a home in the Town of Clayton. Two people are undergoing preventative rabies treatment. One dog may have been exposed, but it was up-to-date with vaccination and received vaccine boosters.

Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can take several weeks to several months for rabies symptoms to appear. Early treatment after an exposure can prevent rabies in humans and in pets that are up-to-date on vaccination. Any mammal can get rabies, but it is most often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Animals do not have to be aggressive or behave erratically to have rabies. Changes in any animal’s normal behavior can be early signs of rabies.

Bats that are on the ground, unable to fly, or active during the day are more likely than others to be rabid. Even so, when any bat is found in a room with an unattended child or with any sleeping or incapacitated person, the bat needs to be tested for rabies. Due to its small teeth, it can be difficult to tell if a bat has bitten a person who has been asleep.

If you find a bat in your home, do not release it outdoors until you speak to Public Health officials. Keep bats out of your home by closing up any holes that might allow bats entry into your living quarters. For more information, visit

Please take these steps to help prevent the spread of rabies:

1. Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Remind them to tell you if they have any unusual contact with an animal.

2. Do not leave pet food outside, as it attracts wildlife to your home.

3. Wash any wound from an animal encounter thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

4. Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pet vaccinated by your vet or at a clinic (check with your local pet supply store) can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

5. Monitor your pet when it is outside. If your pet is involved in an altercation with a wild animal, do not get in between them. Do not touch your pet without gloves, as rabies is spread through saliva. Cover your pet with a towel and contact your vet, as your pet may need a booster shot.


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)