For the first time in a decade a rabid animal has been identified in Houghton County. A bat was discovered on a porch at a home in the City of Houghton. As the temperature drops, bats begin to look for places to hibernate for the winter. You are encouraged to limit access to crawl spaces and outward facing ducts.
Rabies is separate from white-nose syndrome, something that has plagued several area species in the past five to 10 years. It is a viral disease that is transmitted from mammal to mammal through scratch, spit, or bite. Rabies can be fatal in humans if it is allowed to progress. It is advisable to seek treatment immediately if you have contact with a wild animal.
Chief Health Officer for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Kate Beer, recommends that you take caution. Many mammals remain active throughout the winter, and as snow piles up, food sources dry up. Raccoons and others will look for food near humans. Black bears are out now adding weight for the long hibernation to come.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 46 animals who have tested positive for rabies across the state. Two of those were in the Upper Peninsula. The other case was in Luce County.