Man attacked by rabid bat at Lake Crescent Lodge

A 59-year-old Port Angeles area man was treated with rabies prevention medication after being scratched by a bat in front of Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park on Aug. 12.

The visitor was sitting on the shore of Lake Crescent around dusk when a bat flew out of a nearby tree and landed on him. The visitor knocked the bat to the ground, receiving a scratch in the process. The visitor used a towel to capture the bat and alerted park staff. Park staff transported the bat to the Clallam County Environmental Health Department for rabies testing and the visitor began preventative treatment for the rabies virus. On Aug. 16, test results confirmed the bat had the rabies virus.

There are only two other known cases of rabies in bats in Olympic National Park, according to park officials: In 1975, a child was bitten by a bat in the Elwha Valley and in 2008 a woman was scratched by a bat in the Ozette Campground.

The risk of acquiring rabies is extremely low, but the disease is fatal if not treated early after exposure, making it vitally important to treat any possible threat of exposure seriously. Visitors are advised not to approach or handle bats.


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