Bats pose greatest risk for rabies this time of year

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A K-State Veterinarian says everyone should beware of bats after one found at a Manhattan home tested positive for rabies. 

The College of Veterinary Medicine's Dr. Susan Nelson said your chances of coming into contact with a bat are best around this time of year.

Bats are the leading transmitter of rabies.  The CDC says they are responsible for nearly 7 in 10 rabies deaths among people every year and infect more than 1,600 animals each year with the deadly virus. 

Nelson said that while most bats are harmless, anyone who comes into contact with a bat should never touch it with their bare hands. 

Nelson says if a bat is found in your home, you should take it into your local vet for testing.  

The CDC says many people don't know they have been bitten or scratched by a bat because of the small wounds they leave. 

She says the best way to protect your pets is to keep their rabies vaccine current.  If they were exposed to a bat, Nelson says you should take your pet to the vet for a rabies booster. 

Rabies is almost always fatal after symptoms appear.