Bat BITES are so rare it's laughable that you are stating that bat bites are the prmary source of human rabies infection (it is also untrue). The primary non-domestic carriers of rabies (and also more likely to interact with humans) are racoons and skunks. . .
Actually, according to the WHO (WHO | Rabies
) "Bats are the source of most human rabies deaths in the United States of America and Canada." (I remembered seeing this so I visited Google.) So it depends on whether you're talking about suspected exposure or actual deaths, which might be what nnika was talking about.
Note, according to the same WHO page above, that "Worldwide, more than 55 000 people die of rabies every year. . . Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies deaths. . . 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa" - so the case in N America & Europe is very different than that in the developing world.
The prominence of bats in human rabies deaths here is mostly because rabies deaths are so
rare in the US - exposure to dogs, raccoons, skunks is much more common, but you know when it happens, and you get those shots. Rabies DEATHS happen when it goes untreated, which is usually when the exposure is not recognized (or in dumb kids like Skipsfirstspike was - no offense!!!
) And that's most common with bats - say one that blundered into the house & was in the room as you slept - and it is true that the bites are so small that they aren't visible without magnification and knowing right where to look. The bat and the bite might never be seen - the source of the infection is deduced by genetic tests on the virus after death. (OK, now it's MY turn not to have a source - I just remember reading this.)
I myself got rabies shots after waking up to the sound of my cat munching on a bat next to my bed. (What
a sound to wake up to!) I was at my parents' in northern NH at the time and no one there would do anything about testing it. A couple days later when I got home to CT I talked to a doctor and they said yes, protocol in that case would have been to test the bat or, failing that, have the shots. The shots were seriously not
a big deal - except that the hospital only held the serum at the emergency room, so instead of making an appointment I had to go stand in line 4 times for the followups, and of course the emergency room is way
more expensive than a doctor's office, and my insurance screwed up and for 1/2 the visits covered me all but a few dollars, and for the other 1/2 (same
thing, just one jab with the needle) charged me hundreds. I didn't dare call them about getting the expensive ones reduced for fear they would instead tell me the cheap visits were wrong and charge me at the expensive rate for all of them!