Thurston County reports positive case of rabies in bat  


Thurston County Public Health & Social Services (PHSS) is reporting the year’s first positive case of rabies in a bat in Thurston County, the 13th overall in Washington state this year. 

Test results received by PHSS from the Washington State Public Health Lab on Aug. 29 showed the bat, which was found on the porch of a Thurston County residence, was positive for rabies. 

The individual who found the bat was advised to seek medical attention and initiated post-exposure prophylaxis, according to PHSS. 

“It is not possible to tell if a bat has rabies just from its appearance. Whether a bat is alive or dead, handling an infected bat can potentially transfer rabies,” PHSS said in a news release. 

To prevent exposure to rabies: 

  • Don’t handle bats, alive or dead, or allow anyone in your family to handle one.
  • Don’t allow your pet to touch or play with a bat and keep your pets vaccinated against rabies, as per Washington law. If you find a bat in a bedroom or with an unattended child, try to safely capture the bat and have it tested.

If you believe you or a family member may have touched a bat, or have been bitten or scratched by one, wash the area with soap and water. Contact your medical provider and call PHSS during business hours at 360-867-2667, call Washington state Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 after hours and on weekends, or call 911 in a medical emergency.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offers a free, printable information sheet on how to bat-proof your home. 

To learn more about how to safely capture a bat indoors, visit

To read more about bats in Washington, visit \

To learn more about vaccinating your pets, visit