What do you do when you think you’ve been bitten or scratched by a bat in Louisiana?
- Do not step on the bat to crush it, you will need the bat for testing and it’s skull needs to be intact. Capture the bat as safely as possible. Call a professional if possible, but do not let the bat get away.
- If you cannot capture the bat, and you have been bitten or scratched you will most likely need to get the vaccine/post exposure shots.
- If you woke up to a bat flying around in your room, your child’s room or that of a disabled person, under the influence or otherwise there is a chance that they could have been bitten or scratched and not know it.
- Consult your doctor as soon as possible for further advice.
Below is a list of local hospitals that have told the Louisiana Office of Public Health that these facilities are capable of administering complete post exposure rabies
prophylaxis, including administration of human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and the compete
- REGION 1: University Health (New Orleans), Children’s Hospital (New Orleans), Ochsner (main campus,
- REGION 2: Lane Regional (Zachary), Our Lady of the Lake (Baton Rouge), Pointe Coupee General
Hospital (New Roads), St. Elizabeth’s (Gonzales)
- REGION 3: Leonard Chabert Medical Center (Houma), Thibodaux Regional Medical Center (Thibodaux)
- REGION 4: Abbeville General (Abbeville), Iberia Medical (New Iberia), Lafayette General (Lafayette),
Lafayette General Southwest (Lafayette), Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center (Lafayette),
Opelousas General (Opelousas), Saint Martin (Breaux Bridge), Women’s and Children’s (Lafayette),
University Hospital and Clinics (Lafayette)
- REGION 5: Beauregard Memorial (DeRidder), Christus Saint Patrick (Lake Charles), Lake Charles
Memorial (Lake Charles), Urgent Care Clinic (Lake Charles)
- REGION 6: Byrd (Leesville), Christus Cabrini (Alexandria), Rapides Regional (Alexandria), Riverland
- REGION 7: Christus Highland (Shreveport), North Caddo Medical Center (Vivian), University Health
(Shreveport), Willis–Knighton South, North and Pierremont (Shreveport), Willis–Knighton Bossier (Bossier
- REGION 8: Franklin Medical (Winnsboro), Madison Parish Hospital (Tallulah), Morehouse General
(Bastrop), Richardson Medical (Rayville), University Health–Conway (Monroe)
- REGION 9: Lakeview Regional Medical Center (Covington), Ochsner Northshore (Slidell), Our Lady of
Angels (Bogalusa), Slidell Memorial (Slidell), Our Lady of the Lake Livingston (Walker)
According to their website this information was last updated April of 2022
Not many bats carry rabies but they DO NOT have to show signs of it either, the last known rabies report for Louisiana was in 2018 – hopefully they will provide the new numbers soon it’s 4 years of no report or update but in 2018 we had 9 of the 11 cases were bat related!
Here’s the official report: https://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-CH/infectious-epi/Annuals/Rabies_LaAnnual_Report18.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that bats are the most prevalent reservoir
of rabies in the country.
So while bat conservation groups downplay the numbers, we know that rabies is still a concern within bats with second place probably going to skunks in our state. Bear in mind that doesn’t mean other animals do not have it, this just probably reflects more people wanting to test these animals for rabies – so while we must be cautious we must also remember that bats are a beneficial creature and that most of them do not have rabies.
I find bats to be smart, timid animals with no real reason to attack anyone. I have removed them by gloved hand and I will say they really have no interest in biting us. They would rather go fly off and eat a moth. I have been in clouds of them and they are actually very docile, even when grabbing them they really only try to bite when they are handled, or out of options.
If they do find their way into the living space I can assure you that is NOT where they want to be! They would much rather be with their own kind, out flying around being bats!
The bottom line here is seek the advice of a medical doctor, and be calm. Most bats test negative!