For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Arlington, Va. -- Arlington County public health officials announced today that a bat found in North Arlington has tested positive for rabies. A patron found the bat in the Donaldson Run Recreation Association swimming pool, off North Marcey Road. It was removed and tested by the State Laboratory.
“Our investigation is finished, and fortunately, we determined that there were no known human exposures to this bat infected with rabies,” said Glen Rutherford, Arlington County Public Health Division, Environmental Health Bureau Chief.
There were six confirmed animal rabies cases (wild animals only) in Arlington in 2005. So far this year, there have been two other confirmed animal rabies cases, both in raccoons.
“This is a reminder to residents that wildlife infected with rabies can pose a risk in Arlington.” said Reuben Varghese, MD, MPH, Arlington County Public Health Director. “Bats, along with raccoons, foxes and skunks, may be infected with rabies, and are common in Northern Virginia,” Varghese said. “Arlington residents should avoid contact with wildlife, including bats, and stray animals.”
Rabies is an almost invariably fatal acute disease of the brain and nervous system. It is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and causes acute encephalitis. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected mammals. Although almost any mammal can be infected, the disease most commonly appears in carnivores. Domestic dogs and cats can also be infected with the disease; however, required rabies vaccination of dogs and cats has almost eliminated the disease in domestic animals in Virginia.
The Arlington County Public Health Division recommends the following tips to reduce risk from rabies:
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.