First Rabies-positive Bat of the Season Detected in Barry County

June 16, 2023

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) was notified that a bat found in Barry County has tested positive for rabies. The bat, found in Middleville, MI, is the first rabies-positive bat identified in Barry County this year. Rabies is a deadly but preventable disease. Rabies can spread to people and pets through an infected, or rabid, animal’s bites or scratches. However, bats are the most common way that people in Michigan and the United States come in contact with rabies.

People and domestic animals should avoid contact with bats. Rabies can spread to people from bats after minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites or scratches. Any direct contact with a bat should be considered as a possible exposure to rabies. Other possible exposures include finding a bat in the same room as a person who may not be aware that contact has occurred, such as a sleeping person, a child, or someone who is mentally disabled or intoxicated.

If someone has been bitten by an animal or has been in contact with, exposed to, or bitten by a bat, contact BEDHD at (517) 541-2641 as soon as possible. The law requires all animal bites to be reported to local Animal Control and the local Health Department.

If someone may have been exposed to a bat, please DO NOT LET THE BAT GO. Safely capture the bat for rabies testing and immediately contact BEDHD. Information on how to collect a bat safely can be found here or in this video: If the bat is unavailable for testing, treatment will be recommended to prevent rabies. If the bat is tested and does not have rabies, treatment is not needed.

It is also important to protect pets against rabies. The best way to do this is to have dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian and to prevent pets from coming into contact with wild animals while outside. If a pet might have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal such as a bat, raccoon, or skunk, please contact a veterinarian for instructions on how to prevent rabies.

For further information, visit To speak to the BEDHD Communicable Disease (CD) Nurse, call (517) 541-2641. For BEDHD after-hours, weekend, and holiday emergencies, call (517) 541-2683.

To contact Animal Control call:

  • Barry County – (269) 948-4805
  • Eaton County – (517) 543-5755