HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Columbia County Department of Health urges residents to contact the office if a bat is encountered inside a home. The health department will test the bat for free to rule out rabies.

According to the New York State Department of Health website, bats are the leading cause of rabies deaths in the U.S. Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the nervous system.

The Department of Health has provided instructions on capturing bats located in a residence. The Columbia County Department of Health can be reached at (518) 828-3358. For assistance, residents can also contact a licensed nuisance wildlife operator.