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Fact Sheet: Rabies & Bats

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Rabies & Bats

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous systems of humans and other mammals. Rabies is transmitted to humans and other mammals from the bite of a rabid animal. Any wild animal (raccoon, skunk, fox, bat, etc.) can have and transmit rabies.


How to tell if a bat is rabid

Rabies can only be confirmed through laboratory testing. However, any bat that is active by day, found in a place where bats are not usually seen (a room in your home or on the lawn), or is unable to fly, is more likely to be rabid than others. Therefore, it is best to never handle a bat.


Bat bites

If you are bitten by a bat, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. You will likely know if you have been bitten by a bat. However, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, or if you find a bat in a room with an unattended child, mentally impaired or intoxicated person, and no obvious bite wound can be identified, capture the bat for rabies testing. If you think your pet or other domestic animal has been bitten by a bat, isolate the animal and contact a veterinarian and the Health District. It is important to maintain up-to-date rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and other domestic animals. Supervise pets and notify your local animal control agency of any stray animals in your neighborhood.


If a bat is found in your home:

Call Hamilton County Public Health at (513) 946-7800 or the SPCA (513) 541-6100 for further instruction.

If you live in Hamilton County in the city limits of Cincinnati, Norwood, Springdale or Sharonville, please contact your local health department.

  • Cincinnati Health Department Animal Bites Phone – (513) 352-2922
  • Norwood Health Department – (513) 458-4600
  • Springdale Health Department – (513) 346-5725
  • Sharonville Health Department – (513) 563-1722


Bat-proofing your home

Most bats hibernate in the fall and winter. This is the best time to “bat proof” a home.

To keep bats out of your home and other buildings:

  • carefully examine a building for holes that may allow bat entry
  • caulk openings larger than a quarter-inch by half-inch
  • install and maintain window screens and chimney caps
  • use draft-guards beneath doors to attics
  • fill electrical and plumbing holes with steel wool/caulking
  • keep doors to the outside tightly closed


Report bites

Ohio law requires that all animal bites and scratches (including bats) be reported to the local health department. In Hamilton County, but outside the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, Sharonville, Springdale and St. Bernard, report bites 24 hours a day to Hamilton County Public Health at (513) 946-7844.



If you have additional questions regarding rabies prevention or to report any animal bite, contact the Health District rabies line at 513-946-7844 or visit


Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.


250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890