Bat Rabies Found in Medford, OR

May 17, 2012

Bat rabies found in Multnomah County, Oregon


Oregon health officials are reporting that a bat that bit a resident after picking it up in NortheastMultnomah County, Oregon tested positive for rabies on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 according to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory.


This is the second bat to test positive for rabies in 2012, and the first one in Multnomah County since 2008.


May 15, 2012

Case of bat rabies found in Medford, Oregon

Only10 percent of bats in Oregon each year carry rabies

Oregon health officials are reporting that a bat found inside a Medford home, tested positive for rabies Friday afternoon, according to Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory in Corvallis.

This is the first bat to test positive for rabies in 2012. Last year, 11 bats, five foxes and one coyote tested positive for rabies. Each year, about 10 percent of bats tested are found to have rabies.

“People can take two precautions to protect themselves and their pets from bats and rabies,” said Dr. Emilio DeBess, Oregon Health Authority veterinarian. “Never handle bats; and make sure your cats and dogs are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines,” he said. “Unfortunately, bats carry rabies. If you find a bat during the daylight hours, it is probably not healthy and should be avoided.”

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that attacks an infected animal’s nervous system. The rabies strain found in the foxes is from bats. Other strains of rabies found in the U.S. (skunk, fox, and raccoon) are not found in Oregon. Rabies symptoms in wildlife, particularly foxes and raccoons, include lethargy, walking in circles, loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, irritability or aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling of saliva, and showing no fear of humans. Report this type of behavior to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) hotline at 1-866-968-2600.

People should stay away from bats and not handle them. If you find a bat, contact your local ODFW. If your pet has contact with a bat, contact your veterinarian.

Typically, animals acquire rabies by eating or coming in contact with a rabid bat. Very few bats in Oregon have rabies and rabies in other wildlife is even more rare. However, if you know your pet has encountered a bat or been bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately.


  • Vaccinate your pets (dogs and cats) against rabies.
  • Watch wildlife from a distance. Don’t approach or attempt to handle wild animals.
  • Do not feed wild animals.
  • Keep garbage in secure containers and away from wildlife.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Seal openings in attics, basements, porches, sheds, barns and screen chimneys that might provide access to bats and other wildlife.


For a listing of local ODFW offices, please visit