LISBON - On the eve of rabies baiting in the county, a bat found in Perry Township has been confirmed as rabid.
The Columbiana County Health Department reported receiving confirmation from the Ohio Department of Health that the bat tested positive on Wednesday. The bat had not had any direct contact with people.
Health officials are urging residents in the county to use precautions when outdoors, avoiding wildlife including raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.
Additionally, the director of the Ohio Department of Health has issued an order that all dogs and cats older than 14 weeks of age should be vaccinated against rabies.
Prior to the discovery of the rabid bat, the county health department had made arrangements for rabies baiting to begin on Friday. Drops will be made by air and on the ground. The project will end Sept. 7.
While not effective on bats, the baiting should help stop the spread of rabies for raccoons, skunks and foxes. Children and pets should be kept away from the baits to give wildlife a chance to find them and eat them. If one needs to be moved, a person should put on gloves before tossing it into a wooded or natural area and then wash his or her hands.
During 2011, 13 cases of rabies were confirmed in Ohio, including eight skunks from Lake County, three raccoons from Ashtabula, one raccoon from Trumbull County, and one dog from Summit County.
On Wednesday, during the meeting of the board of health, Sanitarian Lori Barnes reported the baiting was planned in the areas of Lisbon, Leetonia, Columbiana, East Palestine and Wellsville.