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Health, Science and Environment

Over 20 bats test positive for rabies so far this summer

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The state Department of Health and Human Services is warning residents about an increase in animals testing positive for rabies across Michigan.

As of June 28th, the Department has identified 22 bats and two skunks infected with rabies.

At this time last year, the Department had only found nine infected bats.

Lyn Sutfin is with MDHHS. She said people or pets that are bitten or scratched should take the animal that attacks them in for testing.

“If you find a bat in your home safely confine or collect it if possible and then definitely take it to the Health Department so they can test it for you. That is one of the key things you can do to make sure you have not been exposed to rabies.”

If you can’t catch the animal that scratched or bit you, you should seek medical treatment. Once rabies symptoms appear the disease is almost always fatal.

Sutfin said residents should be especially cautious during the warmer months of May through September when bats are more active.