Outdoors

Port Angeles man treated for rabies after scratch from infected bat at Olympic NP

Peninsula

Port Angeles man scratched by rabid bat

A 59-year-old man is undergoing rabies treatment after he was scratched by a bat last week at Olympic National Park, the park said in a statement Monday.

The Port Angeles man was scratched while sitting in front of Lake Crescent Lodge after the bat flew out of tree and landed on him. The man knocked the bat to the ground and captured the animal with a towel before alerting park staff. He immediately started rabies prevention treatment.

On Saturday, the Clallam County Environmental Health Department confirmed the bat had the rabies virus.

“We’re very glad that this incident was reported to us and that the person involved is receiving treatment,” Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in the statement. “Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if untreated. Anyone observing unusual or aggressive behavior among park wildlife, including bats or other mammals that approach or appear fearless of humans, should inform a park ranger as soon as possible.”

It is third known rabies case involving bats at Olympic National Park. In 1975 a child was bitten in the Elwha Valley and in 2008 a woman was scratched in the Ozette Campground.

Rabies can be deadly if not treated early.

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