Hammond - A Hammond couple is being treated for exposure to rabies after a rabid bat was found in their bedroom, Clatsop County public health officials reported.

The couple caught the bat and took it to a local veterinarian. They said the bat was screeching and appeared agitated. The Clatsop County Health and Human Services sent the euthanized animal to the Oregon public health laboratory, which tested it and determined the bat had rabies.

It's unknown if either person in the Hammond incident was bitten or scratched by the infected bat, but they opted for post-exposure treatment. Bats have razor-sharp tiny teeth that don't always leave a discernable bite mark.

"Although bats are helpful to humans by consuming insect pests, some bats are infected with rabies," public health Nurse Jan Rutter said. "It is important to protect yourself by keeping windows screened and doors closed at night."

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People get rabies from the bite of an animal with rabies.

Anyone who finds a dead or ailing bat should contact Clatsop County Health and Human Services at 325-8500. If possible, catch the bat using thick gloves and a covered container and take it to a veterinarian, who will notify the public health department for testing.

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