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STURTEVANT – Racine County Public Health Division has issued a public advisory following the confirmation of a rabies-positive bat.

The bat was discovered in a rural area of the county, captured, and sent for laboratory testing. Racine County Public Health (RCPH) investigated and implemented necessary measures, including quarantining and vaccinating animals that may have had contact with the infected bat.

The detection of rabies in the bat serves as a reminder of the ongoing concern among public health officials. Although rabies is rare in the United States, it remains a serious threat due to the significant number of animal bites experienced by several million Americans annually.

Wildlife and rabies

Bats and other wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes and skunks, are common carriers of the rabies virus, typically transmitted through saliva or brain/nervous system tissue. Direct contact with these bodily fluids and tissues is required for transmission. While rabies is fatal, it can be prevented with appropriate treatment.

Racine County Public Health Division advises the public to:

  • Ensure pets are up to date on vaccinations and maintain accurate vaccination records.
  • Avoid keeping wild or exotic animals as pets.
  • Refrain from handling wild animals.
  • Educate children about the importance of not approaching unfamiliar animals, including others’ pets.
  • Report any bat exposure, whether through bites or non-bite incidents, to a physician promptly and notify the local health department.
  • Contact a veterinarian and the local health department if a pet has been involved in an altercation with a wild animal.


In case of a bite or scratch, individuals should immediately wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention from a local physician during business hours or contact local law enforcement after hours.

The following downloadable files are provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The first is a brochure with helpful information for everyone. The second file is a coloring book that can be used to help teach children about safety when dealing with wildlife, specifically with this disease in mind.

For further information about animal rabies, please contact your local health department.

rabies virus
The rabies virus

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.