The P&C had a report today on some folks with a pretty neat business here in the Holy City — they specialize in getting the bats out of your belfries.

That’s not to say bats aren’t aren’t our friends. They are. As the article says, they’re nature’s pesticide.

However, there’s a downside to living with bats — rabies.

Perhaps more unsettling are reports of bats with rabies. Almost 1,700 rabid bats were found in the United States last year, and about one in four incidences of the disease are in the winged mammals, up from 17 percent in 2003, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And those numbers count only the suspicious-acting animals that are found and tested, said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, head of the CDC rabies program.

“It’s just the very tip of the iceberg of what’s out there,” he said. “We essentially live in a sea of rabies.”

A sea evidently that only claims the lives or one or two people a year in the U.S. And truth be told, only one half of one percent are rabid. Feel free to relax.

Of  course, dying from rabies is a very very nasty way to go. Fortunately, it’s entirely treatable, that is if you get treated soon after getting bitten. Once symptoms develop, well, that’s it. Unless you’re this girl.