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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see answers to other questions here.