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What should I do if I might have been exposed to rabies from a bat?

While bites are a common way for diseases to be spread from bats to humans, exposure to saliva and other secretions can also lead to infection. If you are bitten or saliva from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth or wounds, wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical attention immediately. Bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen.

In all circumstances, contact local or state health departments for assistance with medical advice and testing bats for rabies. When it cannot be ruled out that the bat is free from rabies and an exposure has occurred, post-exposure prophylaxis may need to be considered.

When bat droppings, saliva or other secretions are believed to be nearby, closely monitor your health, especially any fever, chills, headache or muscle pain.

If these symptoms appear after being in an area when bats might have been nearby, seek medical attention and be sure to note your presence in these areas. Be sure to also note any travel that has recently taken place, especially to African countries. This is especially important if it has been less than a month since a potential exposure to bats.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.