What to do if you encounter a bat?

A Seattle woman recently picked up a bat from a sidewalk to move it into a bush – not realizing, of course, that it was carrying rabies. 

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system and can be fatal in a period of weeks or months.  However, prompt recognition of a potential transmission and medical treatment can fully resolve the issue. 

"With a bite or scratch, a person should see a medical professional as soon as possible, even if it's not convenient ... certainly within a day. The good news is we have excellent treatment, if we just act on it," said Dr. Paul Pottinger, an infectious diseases specialist with UW Medicine. He discussed rabies in the downloadable soundbites below.

UW Medicine