Bats and Rabies: Capture the Bat

Bats are valuable to Michigan's environment; however, they can also carry rabies. Bats are the animals most often found to be rabid in Michigan and are the most common way that people in Michigan and the United States come into contact with rabies. Rabies can infect other mammals such as dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, woodchucks, skunks, and raccoons, which can also give rabies to humans.

Rabies is a fatal disease once symptoms develop. For that reason, an estimated 40,000 people in the U.S. receive rabies post-exposure treatment each year. Many of these cases happen after coming into contact with bats. Some of these treatments can be avoided if the bat can be collected and tested for rabies. If the bat tests negative for rabies, no treatment is necessary.

Bats and other mammals with rabies can potentially spread rabies to people or pets via a bite or scratch. However, in many human cases caused by bat rabies, there was no reported bite from a bat. For that reason, bats are a special concern. Bats have very small teeth, and a bite from a bat may not be felt. Any direct contact with a bat means a possible exposure to rabies. Other possible exposures include finding a bat in the same room as a person who may not be aware that contact has occurred, such as a sleeping person, a child, or someone who is mentally disabled or intoxicated. If someone has been exposed to a bat, they SHOULD NOT LET THE BAT GO.

Safely capture the bat for rabies testing and immediately contact the health department. If the bat is unavailable for testing, treatment will be recommended to prevent rabies. If the bat is tested and does not have rabies, treatment is not needed.

Follow these instructions when collecting a bat to make sure that contact with the bat is avoided:

  • Gather these supplies: Leather work gloves, a small box or coffee can, a piece of cardboard, and tape
  • Put on gloves and, once the bat lands, approach slowly and place the box or can over it
  • Slide the piece of cardboard under the container, trapping the bat inside. Securely tape the cardboard to the container.
  • If you wish to keep the bat alive, punch holes (no larger than 1/4 inch in diameter) in the container for the bat to breathe. It is important not to damage the bat as this can interfere with the lab testing.
  • Contact the Barry-Eaton District Health Department at (517) 541-2641 in Charlotte or (269) 798-4152 in Hastings to discuss whether the bat needs to be tested for rabies and to receive instructions on what steps to take next
  • Seek medical attention for any bite or scratch

It is also important to protect your pets against rabies. The best way to do this is to have your dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated against rabies by your veterinarian and to prevent your pets from coming into contact with wild animals while outside. If you think your pet might have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, such as a bat, raccoon, or skunk, please contact your veterinarian for instructions on how to prevent rabies.

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Rabies website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/ or the Barry-Eaton District Health Department's website at www.barryeatonhealth.org.

Article posted on April 25th 2017. - Article Permalink

Eaton Rapids Medical Center offers Babysitting Class

Eaton Rapids Medical Center welcomes Babysitting Instructor, Charlene Hamilton from Cardio Pulmonary Resource Center, Inc. Classes will be held on May 9, 16 and 23 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at ERMC.

This course is intended to train young adults, between the ages of 11-14, to be responsible babysitters. The students will learn emergency procedures, discipline techniques, diapering and age-appropriate activities. Pediatric (child and infant) CPR, rescue breathing and the Heimlich maneuver will also be covered, along with basic first aid skills needed while babysitting.

Upon completion of the class, the student will receive a Pediatric CPR card, a Basic First Aid card and a Babysitting Course certificate. Students must attend all three classes to obtain certification. The cost of the class is $30.00 per person. Classes fill up quickly, so please RSVP by calling Cardio Pulmonary Resource Center, Inc. at 1-800-900-2772. Eaton Rapids Medical Center is located at 1500 South Main in Eaton Rapids.

Article posted on April 19th 2017. - Article Permalink

Celebrate Earth Day: Protect the Planet and Public Health

April 22 marks the 47th annual celebration of Earth Day. This day highlights the importance of Earth—the environment—and its protection. With more than one billion people across the world taking part in this holiday each year, Earth Day is the world's largest civic observance.

This year's Earth Day campaign is Environmental and Climate Literacy. Being "environment and climate literate" means understanding climate change and how it affects and threatens the planet. The more people who are environmental and climate literate, the better able the world is to protect the environment from climate change and other threats and to advance green technology and jobs.

The health of the environment has a huge impact on public health, and, on Earth Day, health-impactful environmental achievements should be recognized. For example, the first Earth Day in 1970 helped to spur the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, which help protect people from pollution.

As the effects of climate change become more noticeable, related threats to public health are emerging. Some potential threats from climate change to public health include the following:

  • An increased spread of diseases, especially infectious diseases and those spread by mosquitos and ticks (such as chikungunya virus and Lyme disease).
  • An increase in the number of catastrophic weather events, including wildfires, floods, and droughts.
  • Longer allergy seasons and higher amounts of pollen and pollution in the air, which can affect people with allergies, asthma, and other breathing problems.

Everyone can help protect the environment. "While this year's Earth Day campaign focus is global, there is still plenty that you can do at home to make a difference," said Kasey Swanson, an environmental health sanitarian at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

Activities that the public can do in honor of Earth Day and to keep the environment safe include planting or donating a tree, eating less meat, and stopping the use of disposable plastic. More information on these and other activities can be found at http://www.earthday.org/take-action.

Article posted on April 18th 2017. - Article Permalink

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