Is It Risky To Build A Bat House?

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Is It Risky To Build A Bat House?
In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Here’s a question we’ve got: 

"I bought my grandchildren a kit for a bat house habitat last Christmas because we enjoy being in nature. Because bats may have helped the spread of COVID-19, would it be safe for them to erect that or are they potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19?"

We asked the experts: Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, an infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer for Northwestern Medicine; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from a bat house is low risk, but you’re at risk for other diseases.

"The risk of coronavirus would be very low if you are building a habitat to attract bats," Cary said.

"It would be really hard to tell if whichever bats are in that area that they're wanting to build a bat for, if that is a risk. However, I would, as an infectious disease doctor, also want to state that there are a lot of other things that bats can come with, including rabies, for which there is no cure and is almost uniformly fatal," Marcelin said. 

"I would have reservations about that. I guess it would depend on the size of your property. If you're on 400 acres, probably it's a different story if it's further away, but close to the human habitat, I would probably have some concerns about that. I would probably for now err on the side of no, don't do it right now," Dr. Hafiz said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here