Join Date: Feb 2010
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Just to put bats and rabies into a bit of perspective here--
Rabies is a VERY serious concern with bats. It's 100% fatal once a patient becomes symptomatic. However, the number of human fatalities in the US is on the order of 1 to 3 per year. In contrast, arbovirus encephalitis occurs in about 3000 americans each year, and results in about a 30% mortality rate. In other words, about 1000 people per year die from arbovirus encephalitis in the US. This particular form of encephalitis (an infection of the brain) is almost always transmitted by mosquitos. So, it would appear that having bats around lowers ones probability of dying from arbovirus encephalitis (not to mention other mosquito-borne diseases) far more than it raises ones probability of contracting rabies.
By all means, one should be cautious about coming into direct contact with bats, and sick bats should NEVER be handled. However, relative to the chances of contracting some other fatal disease from the mosquitos that non-existent bats aren't eating, the chance of getting rabies from the bats in a bat box near your boat are pretty tiny.
Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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