One of the most common diseases that people associate with bats is rabies, however this is actually a misconception. Only about 1% of the bat population carries the disease. In fact, bats are more commonly carrying the fungus associated with histoplasmosis. Even though it is highly unlikely you will encounter a bat with rabies, you should still use extreme caution when coming in contact with any bat you encounter. Rabies is very easy to transfer from host to host, and even if a bat is not showing signs of being “rabid”, a small scratch can easily mean contracting the disease.
The most common issue that people encounter when dealing with bats is histoplasmosis, which is carried in their guano. The spores of the fungus become airborne, making it possible for humans to breathe in. The spores then infect the lungs, which can cause severe respiratory issues. It is vital to seek medical attention should you experience any respiratory issue when you have had a history of dealing with bats.
Bats are covered in layers of hair, and are notorious for shedding. This can heavily affect those with allergies. Sadly, there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic bat. Since bats are wild animals, they also have the potential to bring fleas and other pests into your home with them.
While rabies and histoplasmosis are two of the biggest health concerns with bats, you should always use caution and keep yourself safe to prevent the transfer of any disease.