What Happens When A Bat Bites & How To Treat It?

Bats may carry bacteria and viruses which may be harmful to humans. The brown bats are the most common culprits for biting humans. The bite might look very tiny due to the tiny size of the teeth but is very dangerous. If bitten by a bat, take it very seriously as the bat is a carrier of deadly rabies infection.(1) The virus is transmitted to humans through bites, contact, and dropping. If bitten a doctor should be consulted even if the injured area doesn’t look very serious.

What Disease Does A Bat Carry?

Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV)

ABLV is a virus that is present in the bat and is transferred to the human when the saliva comes in contact with the mucous membrane or broken skin or through bites and scratches.(2)

Infection with this virus can cause rabies-like disease, which can be fatal. The only way to avoid getting infected with this virus is to avoid handling bats or if bitten or scratches by bat seeking immediate medical advice.

Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis is a rare infection of the lungs. It spreads through the dropping of animals infected with the organism. People who have work of handling bats should avoid being exposed to dust in the environment that could be contaminated with bat droppings. It is good to spray water in such areas before cleaning them and wear masks, gloves and use protective equipment.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is transferred to humans via the urine of infected animals. Although rodents and cattle are the main carriers, bats can also be infected from it. Farmers, veterinarians, and meat workers are the common people infected with these bacteria. A common way to avoid getting infected by this bacterium from the bat is to avoid contact of bats urine with broken skin or eyes.

Salmonella

This is another bacterium causing gastroenteritis symptoms in humans. The bacteria are found in human feces. The infection is acquired by coming in physical contact with dogs, poultry and cattle. After handling bats or if coming in contact with their feces and urine it is important to thoroughly wash hands.

How To Treat A Bat Bite?

  • It is very important to treat a bat bite in the right way.
  • Make sure the area of bite is cleaned thoroughly. Wash it with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure on the area of the bite to stop bleeding
  • It is important to figure out if the bat had rabies.
  • There are certain abnormal behaviors observed in live bat with rabies:
  • The bat may seem docile and won’t flee from human
  • The bat may seem furious or make a vicious attack without provocation
  • It might have excessive saliva or foam in the mouth

Some doctors’ feel just by seeing the bat in the house, it is important to get vaccinated for rabies.

If vaccinated and bitten, the person would still require two more injections of the vaccine around the wound.

Those who have never been vaccinated would need a treatment inside the wound with the human rabies immunoglobin antibody and five vaccine shots in the surrounding muscles.

How To Remove Or Clean Up The Bat Droppings?

There are certain precautions which the workers who clean the droppings should adopt:

  • While cleaning seal the heating and the cooling air ducts.
  • A healthy individual should do the cleaning.
  • Wear a respirator that can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns while cleaning.
  • Moisten the dropping with water to prevent the spore from getting into the air.
  • Put the droppings in the sealed plastic bag and rinse the bag from the outside before placing it in a disposing container.
  • Wash or shower after the cleaning process.

Small dropping can be cleaned with soap and water, but if they are present in large quantities contact environmental engineering consultants for advice on cleaning.