Bat tests positive for rabies in Snohomish County

The Snohomish County Health Department is urging all county residents to know and follow preventive measures for rabies after a bat in the Snohomish area tested positive Monday.

Multiple domestic pets were exposed, but there are no known human exposures. The owner reported that the affected pets are vaccinated against rabies. Public health staff are following up to verify vaccination status and provide guidance on any other measures that may be needed, such as temporary confinement of pets for monitoring.

Bats are important nocturnal pollinators, and most are harmless. However, like all wild animals, contact with bats should be avoided as they may bite, scratch, and carry diseases.

Some bats carry rabies, which is a deadly disease that can spread to humans or other animals through bites and scratches. While only a small percentage of bats in the wild carry rabies, exposures should be taken seriously. Rabies is fatal without preventive treatment.

Rabies prevention reminders

  • Humans and pets should avoid close contact with bats.While most bats are harmless, you can’t necessarily tell by looking whether a bat has rabies.
    • Never handle bats with bare hands. Only capture bats that have had direct contact with a person or pet, or were found in your room after sleeping or in a room with a child who may have had contact. For instructions to safely capture a bat, visit
    • Do not release or dispose of a bat that may have had contact with humans or pets unless you are instructed to by public health. The bat may be needed for rabies testing.
  • Make sure all pets are up to date on rabies vaccines. Vaccination protects against infection and could save your pet’s life if there is an exposure.
  • If you believe you or a family member has been exposed, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • If you believe your pet has been exposed, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Call the Snohomish County Health Department at 425-339-3503 if there has been an exposure in your home.

For more information, visit



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