Other infections, such as tetanus, may also result from a bite wound and require medical attention. Before publication of the 1999 ACIP recommendations, the most common reason for testing bats was pet exposure only, which accounted for 50.3% of submissions during 1985–1991 and 43.5% during 1992–1998 (Table 1). Current practice is in place pending reconsideration of and changes to these guidelines. Raccoon rabies virus variant (RRV) was first detected in Massachusetts in 1992 and had spread throughout most of the state by 1996. On average, about 3 percent of bats tested for rabies are positive. Between 1985–1991 and 1999–2009, the proportion of bats submitted on the basis of human exposure (human exposure alone and human and pet exposure) increased from 22.9% to 72.0%. We thank the staff of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, local boards of health, animal control officers, animal inspectors, problem-animal control agents, veterinarians, and colleagues from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine for their commitment to bat rabies surveillance and control. If the animal becomes ill during the 10 days, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. For more information about USDA efforts to manage rabies in wildlife, please visit the National Rabies Analyses such as this have already prompted changes in rabies PEP recommendations in Canada to specify direct exposure to a bat (15). In examining the effect of various bat characteristics on the likelihood of rabies infection, we found that signs of central nervous system involvement, including aggression, ataxia, disorientation, or lethargy, were associated with rabies. Approach the bat slowly and place the container over the bat. If a person is exposed to a bat, and that bat is not available for laboratory testing, preventive rabies treatment is usually recommended. Bats in Everett, Massachusetts are very common and contribute heavily to bug control by eating lots of mosquitos. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During 1999–2009, a total of 4,766 Massachusetts residents were exposed to bats that were negative for rabies virus. This treatment can often be avoided if the bat can be tested for rabies. Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address: Xingtai Wang, William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 305 South St, Boston, MA 02130, USA. Bat rabies in the southwestern United States. Figure 1. Do not feed or handle wild animals. The proportion of rabies-positive bats by species was 5.0% (443/8,850) big brown bats, 3.6% (39/1,074) little brown bats, 23.5% (4/17) hoary bats, 8.3% (4/48) red bats, 5.9% (1/17) silver-haired bats, and 3.2% (3/94) Keen long-eared bats; 751 (7.3%) of 10,257 bats were not suitable for rabies testing. All positive bats found came from eastern Massachusetts Contact the Boston Public Health Commission at (617) 534-5611 for assistance. Some bats live in buildings, and there may be no reason to get rid of them if there is little chance for contact with people. Among 961 testable bats submitted before RRV introduction, 76 (7.9%) were positive for rabies compared with 420 (4.9%) of 8,545 bats submitted after RRV introduction. Human rabies prevention—United States, 2008; recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The alert noted that the MDPH tested 889 bats in 2018 from across Massachusetts and 26 – or 3 percent - tested positive for rabies. Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft guards beneath doors to attics. In Massachusetts (laws differ in each state), pets are required to have 2 rabies vaccines 9-12 months apart, then allows subsequent vaccines (only those labeled by the FDA as valid for 3-year duration) to be boostered every 3 Bats flying overhead and bats that have not had contact with humans or animals do not pose a risk. Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. Ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly. In this study, we review annual rabies data from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2006, spanning the introduction of raccoon strain rabies in 1992. However, in contrast to other animal species in which RRV introduction resulted in an increase in identification of rabies (8), the proportion of bats with rabies was constant in the periods before (1985–1991) and after (1992–1998) RRV introduction. Cover your garbage cans and don’t leave pets’ food outside where it can attract wild animals. Use thick gloves, tongs, or a shovel to remove the dead bat, or call a bat-removal expert. It looks like your browser does not have JavaScript enabled. Among all rabies-positive bats, 89.3% were big brown bats, 8.0% were little brown bats, and 2.7% were of less frequently submitted species. These animals can infect humans and pets, so residents should understand the symptoms of rabies in Massachusetts wildlife and stay clear of possibly infected animals.