Responding to a bat bite

Anyone bitten by a bat must be referred for medical evaluation immediately. When possible, the animal should be captured and evaluated for rabies.

Because bats have very small teeth, their bite marks may be small or invisible.

School personnel should follow these steps:

  1. Immediately have the bitten person thoroughly wash his or her wound, hands, etc., with soap and water.
  2. Contact the designated responder.

The designated responder should:

  • Instruct the bitten person to consult a physician for wound care and discussions about post-exposure rabies vaccination. If the animal is proven to have rabies, these vaccinations are critical.
  • Follow district procedures to capture the animal, if possible, and hold it until animal control responds to the scene.
  • Determine whether any other people came into contact with the bat. If so, gather their names, ages, home addresses, parent or guardian names, and phone numbers. If the bat is found to be infected with rabies, these individuals will need to be contacted and referred to their health care providers. Handle the contact information confidentially.
  • Report the incident to the IPM coordinator, who should notify animal control. It is not necessary to notify the health department unless it is part of a school’s procedures. Rabies incidents, by law, are reported to the local rabies control authority. Local and regional health departments can be consulted about potential rabies incidents.