Dutchess County Department of
Behavioral & Community Health
85 Civic Center Plaza – Suite 106 – Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 486-3404 Fax: (845) 486-3545
Keep Bats Out to Prevent Rabies
Simple Steps Can Protect Your Family
With summer weather here, residents are opening their windows and installing air conditioners to beat the heat. However, they may inadvertently be inviting bats, which are known to carry rabies, into their home.
Department of Behavioral & CommunityHealth (DBCH) reminds residents to take steps to avoid bats in their homes.
Bats play an important role in the environment, helping control insect populations. While bats are gentle and not aggressive by nature, they are a rabies vector species and can spread the disease to humans through exposure and/or contact. For that reason, it is very important to keep bats out of the home and avoid contact with bats.
DBCH notes a marked increase in human-to-bat exposures from May through September of each year, contacts which require rabies case investigations and sometimes post exposure rabies treatment. So far in 2023, DBCH has noted 28 bat exposures, 20 in June alone. This is expected to increase as “bat season” runs from May to September.
DBCH Commissioner Dr. Livia Santiago-Rosado said, “Now that we are full swing into summer, it’s important to remain vigilant of bats in or around your home. I strongly encourage all residents to follow some simple steps to prevent bats from getting into their home to keep their families safe from rabies exposure.”
Due to their small size, bats can easily squeeze into very small gaps (1/2 inch), such as in between the upper and lower sashes of open windows. When a window is opened to install an air conditioner, it creates a gap between the upper and lower window sashes. Bats may gain entry to a house through these gaps.
DBCH recommends the following simple steps for residents to prevent bats from entering their homes:
- Seal any gaps between window sashes with cloth or other suitable material. Check that no gaps exist on the sides and bottom of the unit. Check to make sure the upper window sash stays in place. Brace it up if needed.
- Be sure open windows have tight-fitting and intact screens. Ensure entry doors have a self-closing screen door.
- When placing a fan in a window, be sure the screen remains in place.
- Keep garage doors and other doors closed when not in use.
- Make sure chimney dampers are closed. Seal all unused openings from the house into the chimney.
- Keep access points to non-habitable spaces, such as the interior attic access door, closed and properly sealed.
For more information on Rabies, including how to safely capture a bat in their home, residents can visitDutchessNY.gov/Rabies or call DBCH at 845-486-3404.
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