Yikes! A Gaithersburg woman found a rabid bat in her kitchen sink on Tuesday.
Lisa Holland, chief of the city’s animal control division, said that the woman called authorities when she saw the animal, around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Officers captured the bat in her condo on the 800 block of Quince Orchard Boulevard, euthanized it and tested it for rabies.
Holland said that although no one in the household reported being bitten by the bat, the animal control division always tests bats that have come into casual contact with humans for rabies. The disease can be fatal to humans and animals if those who are exposed don’t get treatment.
“They don’t know when it came in. They didn’t know if there may have been casual contact while the residents were sleeping,” Holland said about this bat.
Cindy Edwards, senior administrator for communicable disease and epidemiology at the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, said the health department would likely recommend a course of four post-exposure rabies vaccines for the residents of the condo, even though the residents report that they were not bitten by the bat.
“It works very well and it’s very effective,” she said of the treatment. “If you wake up and there’s a bat in your room, we would recommend post-exposure.... We err on the side of caution.”
Bats have very small teeth, so their bites can go unnoticed, she said.
To prevent exposure, Holland recommended that residents keep their windows and doors shut unless they have screens on them.
“The bats come out to feed at dusk. And if that bat’s following an insect and that insect flies into your house, it’s going to follow it,” she said. “You’re not going to see it. You’re not going to know it, until you wake up and there may be a bat flying around your bedroom. Or you may look in your sink and there may be a bat in your sink.”
If that sounds like a very ominous scenario to you, it is best to invest in some window screens.