Potential rabies exposure increases as fall approaches

RENO, Nev (KOLO) Just about every night this summer you could find these Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats escaping from McCarran Bridge and look for dinner until the wee hours of the morning.

They live there from June to September. Soon they will migrate, and if a bat is sick that journey will make that fact very apparent.

“They might be more likely to die of a disease since they are expending energy to fly south, so this is the time of year we might see bats be more likely to drop to the ground. The ones that are sick are going to succumb to the disease more likely now,” says Jeff Jeppson, Washoe County Environmental Specialist.

Jeppson says so far this year three bats in Washoe County have tested positive for rabies. While that's not above normal, consider 16 people in Washoe County have undergone treatment for possible rabies exposure this year alone.

“Of our bats that are tested, last year about 11% came back and tested positive for rabies,” says Jeppson.

But it is those sick bats that will most likely come into contact with people. Jeppson says you or your pet may come across a bat in the weeks to come.

Don't touch it. Instead, call vector control, which can capture the bat and have it tested. The number is (775) 328-2434.