Although the actual risk of infection is low, bats, like most mammals, have the ability to carry and transmit several types of bacteria and viruses that can be harmful to both humans and pets. The most common bat diseases include Histoplasmosis, Rabies, and parasitic infestations like mites and lice.
Continue reading to learn some facts about each, and what you can do to protect your home from nuisance bat problems.
Histoplasmosis is a serious lung infection that causes upper respiratory complications. Histoplasmosis is caused by Histoplasma capsulatum fungal spores that grow on animal droppings. The fungal spores become airborne, causing people and pets to contract the illness through inhalation. In mild cases, people infected with Histoplasmosis show no signs or symptoms, while others may show signs of a mild lung infection after 1 or 2 weeks.
Some people may experience more severe complications if it spreads to other parts of the body, known as Disseminated Histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is especially dangerous, and potentially fatal, for elderly citizens and those with suppressed immune systems. Most people do not require treatment for Histoplasmosis, however, the young, sick, and elderly will need treatment.
Bats are a common rabies vector in North America. But just because they are potential carriers does not mean they are infected. It is important to note that it is very rare for a bat to be rabid, and even rarer for a person to contract Rabies from a bat. However, pets are a higher risk of contracting rabies since they may stumble upon a rabid lone bat in the yard. If a person or animal does contract the Rabies virus, there is no treatment. Unfortunately, it attacks the nervous system, making it fatal in most cases. It is vital to have your pets vaccinated annually for Rabies and more.
❸ Bat Mites/Lice
Although parasitic outbreaks are not fatal, they are extremely aggravating and difficult to eliminate. Common infestations are bat mites, lice, and fleas. Not only are these highly contagious and transferrable, they can be spread by both humans and pets. Virtually all bat infestations will come with some sort of parasitic infestation, primarily bat mites. Parasites like these are very common, and they grow at incredibly fast rates. If such outbreaks are not managed efficiently, it can take a lot of time, money, and construction to resolve.