Message Number: YG6944 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-09-03 17:53:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] vaccine reactions.

> There have been found that bats found in New Jersey are carrying rabies and
> because of their tiny teeth a bite is difficult to determine. Keep yourself
> and your animals save and vacinate. Death by rabies is a horrible way to die.
> Steve

The last i read (Charles Rupprecht at the CDC used to kindly share a
number of resources with me, but that was about 3 to 5 years ago.)
bats rabies varieties (esp. of the silver bats) are the most common
strain found in humans in the U.S. (It's an exceedingly rare
infection in humans here.) In a BCI study in Texas (perhaps 10 years
ago) it was found that of bats that are "up" -- those who still can
use their rear legs to hang by -- about 5% had rabies; of those who
were "down" -- could not use rear legs to hang by -- something like
15% had the infection. (This is from memory, so recall that I may be
off.) That is NOT most bats which are down or behaving abberrently,
but with something so serious any fraction warrants caution, but not
panic. Other BCI studies about that time indicated that most bats
with neurological damage actually had that due to poisoning and use
of poisons that injured bats rather than killed them (such as some

Among domestic animals the most common vector is unvaccinated and
free-roaming pet cats. (Certainly other domestic animals can get
rabies: dogs, horses, cattle, etc.)

In NJ the most common wild vector animals 3 years ago were bats,
raccoons, foxes, skunks, ground hogs (unusual for rodents), and
probably something else that I am forgetting. Coyotes are a big
vector animal in some other areas; we have them but they have been a
large vector here. Have heard of rabies in a range of other wild

Personally, we live right next to a reserve and are not far from both
a county and a federal nature preserves so we team with wildlife
which can carry either rabies of canine distemper. Have no choice
but be careful. We don't panic about it and I still have assisted in
rescuing wildlife a few times a year, but we use educated caution. I
was in far more danger of contracting it when I was in jungles of
Suriname decades ago, but precautionary vaccines for rabies weren't
among those required at that time.