Less than 1% of bats in nature have rabies, according to the release. However, bats that act strangely or contact humans are “up to 10 times more likely” to have rabies, officials said.
In recent weeks, the park has reportedly gotten other reports of unusual bat behavior, including one reported bite. “Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through saliva during a bite, scratch, or mucus membrane contact with an infected animal. Because bat bites and scratches can be small, any physical contact with a bat is considered a potential exposure.”
Rabies is reportedly “very preventable” in humans with proper medical care given shortly after an exposure. If left untreated, officials said the virus is almost always fatal.
Anyone who had physical contact with any bat should seek immediate medical attention for potential exposure. They should also notify the NPS Office of Public Health of the encounter.
“Visitors whose pets may have had contact with a bat should discuss it with their veterinarian,” officials said. “Park visitors are advised to “Observe all wildlife from a safe and respectful distance, […] never pick up or handle any wild animal.”