What Diseases Can Bats Cause?

For obvious reasons, a main concern is the diseases that can be spread by bats. Luckily, bat diseases are few and they are rare. The two major concerns are the lung disease histoplasmosis which can come from the bat guano, and the rabies virus, which comes from being bitten by an infected bat in its virulent stage. I'll discuss both below. You can also read more in depth about histoplasmosis or rabies.

It's possible for the guano of the bats to serve as a host for the fungus named Histoplasma Capsulatum that transmits the lung disease Histoplasmosis to people. One can get infected by this disease when they breathe in its spores that are found in the droppings of many animals, including bats. (see photos of bat poop) The pile of droppings usually has to be a few years old. The infected person will fall sick and have mild to high fever associated with muscle aches and even respiratory problems. This is dangerous to infants and people who have very low immunity. The truth is that it is rare to catch.

Symptoms of histoplasmosis range from non-existent to serious and can begin anytime from a couple of days to two weeks after coming in contact with the spores of the Histoplasma Capsulatam fungus. Some people experience no symptoms and never realize they have become infected with the disease. Other symptoms are mild, resembling flu symptoms. Mild symptoms can include chills, mild fever, aching joints, and a cough or chest pain that occurs when breathing deeply. These mild symptoms can last several weeks. On some occasions, the symptoms do not go away, resulting in chronic lung infection.

Symptoms of chronic lung infection as a result of histoplasmosis include shortness of breath, chest pain, a deep cough that is sometimes accompanied by bloody phlegm, and fever. On rare occasions, the body’s immune system may react to the infection, causing swelling from irritation and inflammation. This can lead to chest pain from swelling around the heart, headaches from swelling in the brain, neck stiffness from swelling of the spinal cord, and a high fever. If not treated at this point, the disease can be fatal.

Treatment of histoplasmosis first requires a diagnosis of the disease. Since the mild symptoms resemble other common illnesses, it is often not diagnosed until the symptoms have progressed to those of chronic lung disease. There are multiple tests that can be used to diagnose the disease. The first test is to perform a fungal culture. A small sample of tissue, such as from the skin or liver can be tested. A fluid sample, such as blood or sputum, can also be used. The doctors test the sample to see if the fungus Histoplasma Capsulatam is growing on or in the sample. A urine test can also be performed to see if antigens to the infection are present in the urine. The final test for histoplasmosis is a blood test, where the blood is checked for Histoplasma antibodies.

If the test for histoplasmosis is positive, treatment will begin. An antifungal medicine, such as Itraconazole, is prescribed to kill the fungus. The treatment can last between 3 and 12 months, until tests show that the fungus is no longer in the body. Regular checks of the chest are usually performed for the duration of the treatment to ascertain the degree of damage to the lungs. In severe cases, chest imaging may be done for as long as 2 years past the time of infection to assure that the infection does not reoccur. Depending on the amount of damage done to the body as a result of the infection, other medications may be necessary as well.

There are no known diseases transmitted to humans because of bat bug bites.

Facts On Rabies Being Transmitted By Bats:
One of the major concerns is that, bats can transmit rabies to humans. Though less than 1% of bats carry the rabies virus and transmit it, it is difficult to say if a colony of bats that is residing in the house has it or not. If a bat is weak, sick looking and found during the day there is a good likely hood it could be carrying rabies.

What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a disease that is caused by the virus Lyssavirus Rabies. This virus affects the immune system, mainly the nervous system very quickly. Appropriate treatment has to be given to the person bitten by bats or any animals that might carry the rabies virus. Read about what to do if you are bitten by a bat.

The virus is found in the saliva of the animal and enters the blood stream of any living thing it bites. The incubation period is highly variable in animals and people. Medical council recommends that the person bit by an animal be given appropriate treatment by a professional practitioner within 12 hours from the time of the bite. In case medical treatment is not provided within 12 hours, it should be given within 48 hours.

The virus usually attaches itself to the nervous system and works its way along to the brain. Though in very few cases symptoms are seen immediately, in many instances it is not recognizable for even months. These cases usually result in death. The Rabies virus is called a Neurotropic Virus. This classification is due to the fact it replicates in the nerve tissues and then infects the brain.

Apart from diseases caused directly by bats, bats also carry bugs and mites that can be a nuisance and carry their own diseases.

Read more educational articles:
What if you are bitten by a bat?
What are some of the symptoms of a sick bat?

HELP: If you need professional help in solving your bat problem, please click on my Hiring Advice and 2018 Directory of Bat Removal Professionals serving every city in the USA.

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barrel tile - bat house - Big Brown Bat - bitten
are bats blind - catch bat flying inside house - chimney - cleanup - damage - diseases - exclusion - histoplasmosis - inspection - Little Brown Bat - maternity season - Mexican Freetail Bat - photos - poison - poop - prevention - professional - rabies - repairs - repellent - Do Bats Hibernate? - trapping.

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