© 2022 KGOU
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Rabies-Infected Bats In Oklahoma "Not The Next Plague Of 2020 Or Anything"

Daniel Hargreaves

Oklahoma has seen its second case of rabies in a bat in the past six weeks and health officials say it’s a good reminder to take precautions against the disease.


The State Department of Health announced this week a rabies-infected bat was found within Chandler’s city limits in Lincoln County.

Although it might be easy to feel this is just another wild development for the year, State Epidemiologist Jared Taylor says it’s not too abnormal.

"It's not the next plague of 2020 or anything," Taylor said.

But it is a good reminder to be vigilant. Bats and skunks are the main spreaders, he says, and skunks tend to spread the disease more in the spring and fall. But bats pose a risk that skunks don’t. Usually, Taylor says, transmissions from skunks involve dramatic clashes with pets. That’s not the case for bats. Their bites often aren’t painful – or even detectable – so any exposure to one can be a major concern, especially if it’s acting strange.

Another way to protect your family is to get animals around you vaccinated. That includes pets, but also livestock you or your children might come in close contact with, like show animals for 4-H and FFA.

Rabies in humans is treatable. However, Taylor says that treatment involves many injections and is costly. It’s obviously better to prevent.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.