CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) -When you wake up in the middle of the night, it may be because you are thirsty or have a crying baby. For the Hanoufa household in Albany, they wish it was all of the above and then some.

“My husband and I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a bat flying around the ceiling in our room,” described Hailey Hanoufa.

Hailey and her husband were not prepared for the new guest. Unwelcomed is an understatement. “We shut all our doors and put on a bunch of layers of clothing. We tried to make a plan and kind of chased it out of our window,” said Hanoufa.

When the two woke up the next morning, everything seemed back to normal. Hailey had called her doctor to check in to find they made a mistake. “Attempt to capture that bat for testing. It’s a lot easier to test the bat then to put someone through a vaccine series,” explained Director of Environmental Health for Schenectady County, Jennifer Priebe.

Which is exactly what the Hanoufa family has to do. “We are right now in the middle of getting number five out of seven shots.”

And why would the bat need to be tested? The little guy might have been carrying a disease you do not want to get. “Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that affects nervous system tissue,” stated Priebe.

Bats aren’t the only animal that can carry the disease. Rensselaer County has seen four cases so far this year. A gray fox biting three people in early August testing positive for rabies. Schenectady County had three involving a cat, racoon and a bat.

“If you get bit by a racoon or a stray cat, etc. and that animal is rabid and you don’t get treated in a timely fashion you will die. That is why we take this virus so seriously,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Wildlife Health Program Leader, Kevin Hynes.

The DEC tracks all cases where rabid animals were not involved with people. Hynes says numbers have fluctuated over the years, but look to be improving. “In the early 90s, we were looking at hundreds of cases. This year, so far, we are up to fifteen that have come through our system.”

Two rabies vaccine clinics for pets are set to happen in the counties of Rensselaer and Schenectady. Those locations and dates are below:

  • Schenectady County
  • Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Location: Princetown Town Hall
  • 165 Princetown Plaza, Princetown
  • Rensselaer County
  • Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023
  • Time: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Location: Schodack Highway Garage
  • 3776 United States Route 20, Nassau