Panama City, Florida – The Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) is reminding all residents and visitors to avoid contact with bats. Bats can spread rabies. Rabies is a deadly viral infection of the nervous system transmitted from animal to animal or animal to human by biting, scratching or contact of infected saliva with an open wound or mucous membrane.

“Exposure to rabies can be fatal. It’s important not to touch wild animals, be aware of unusual animal behavior, and keep pets vaccinated against rabies,” said Sandon S. Speedling, MHS, CPM, CPH, Administrator and Public Health Officer, DOH-Bay.

Bats are beneficial, protected flying mammals that can eat up to half their weight of insects at a time.
night; however, bats can also carry rabies. Bats found on the ground are most often
furious. Grounded bats are more likely to fall into human hands or come into contact with pets. the bats
have very small teeth and bite wounds may not always be noticeable or bleed. skin contact
contact with a bat can be considered as possible exposure to rabies, even without signs of injury.

Rabies must also be considered when bats are found in the living quarters of a residential building.
or in the presence of small children or pets. If you have skin contact with a bat or find a bat in
your home, contact DOH-Bay immediately call 850-872-4455. Bats suspected of being in contact with humans or pets may need to be tested for rabies.

If an animal bites or scratches, immediately wash the wound with soap and water.
If necessary, seek medical attention and report the injury to DOH-Bay at 850-872-4455.
If the animal is stray or feral, call 911 or Bay County Animal Services at 850-767-3333 and report the animal’s whereabouts. In the city of Lynn Haven, call the Lynn Haven Police Department at 850-265-1112. Be sure to follow, because. Rabies can be prevented with timely treatment.

The following advice is given:

  • If your dog or cat is fighting a wild animal, contact Bay County Health Services.
    department immediately.
    The wild animal must be tested for rabies. Your
    the animal must be quarantined. Do not shoot animals suspected of having rabies in chapter.
  • Don’t touch animals that don’t belong to you. Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially
    raccoons, bats, bobcats, otters, foxes, skunks and coyotes. No animal is too young to
    there is rage. A rabid animal can act friendly.
  • Wear rubber gloves and goggles when butchering/butchering wild animals.
    animals to avoid exposure to rabies and other diseases.
  • Thoroughly cook all meats to 165°F.
  • Don’t hunt animals that look sick.
  • For general inquiries regarding stray animals or strangely behaving wild animals, please contact
    animal control department in your area.
  • For questions about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian.
  • Tell your children about rabies and never touch a bat.

For more information about bats in Florida, see For more information on rabies, visit the Florida Department of Health website at or contact DOH-Bay call 850-872-4455 or follow us on Twitter @FLHealthEmerald.


About the Florida Department of Health

Department accredited at the national level Council for Public Health Accreditationworks to protect, promote, and improve the health of all Florida residents through a comprehensive state, county, and community effort.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla or @FLHealthEmerald and beyond facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, visit the website

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