A Port Angeles man is undergoing rabies-prevention treatment after being scratched by a bat at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park last Tuesday.
A bat flew out of a tree and landed on a 59-year-old man while he was sitting on the shore of Lake Crescent around dusk, according to the National Park Service. The man knocked the bat to the ground and was scratched. He then used a towel to capture the bat and alerted park staff.
Park staff took the bat to the Clallam County Environmental Health Department and test results confirmed it had the rabies virus.
Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if left untreated, park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in a statement. There have been only two other known cases of rabies in bats at Olympic National Park: a child was bitten by a bat in 1975 and a woman was scratched by a bat in 2008.
Any bat encounter or exposure should be reported immediately to a park ranger and to a health professional. The park service advises that visitors maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from any animal they encounter.