Rabies is still alive and well in Texas. Certainly not at epidemic proportions, but it’s here, and it’s important that we all know it – especially children. Bats and skunks are the species most commonly affected by rabies, and school grounds are the number one location in Texas for exposure to rabid bats. But many people are unaware that exposure to bats poses a risk.
So the Zoonosis (diseases that can be passed from animals to humans) Control Division of the Texas Department of State Health Services will be conducting the 5th annual “Rabies Awareness & Prevention Poster Contest” for K-8th grade in February 2013. Involving kids in a poster contest is a great way to instill the importance of vaccinating pets against rabies and avoiding contact with high risk animals, so they’d like to get more schools involved. If you are a teacher, or know one, please forward this information to them along with THIS LINK where they can download contest information and view past winner’s posters.
Keep in mind not all bats are infected – in fact only a fraction of the bat population are. And they’re good to have around. According to the CDC in Atlanta, they play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, eat insects (including mosquitos!), pollinate plants and scatter seed. Studies of bats have even contributed to medical advances including the development of navigational aids for the blind.
You don’t have to be afraid of bats, just don’t touch them, that’s all.
Aside: Did you know that Cleburne has not done any spraying for mosquitos and they haven’t had one single case of West Nile reported? Why? Because they have bats. Check out this WB33 News story from a few weeks ago.
Photo: Our new bat house. Now we just have to figure out where to hang it.