A woman who bare-handedly handled a rabid bat was finally found by authorities and is being treated for rabies. What are some important points to remember this peak rabies season?
Bare-Handed Bat Handling
Last Wednesday, a concerned citizen found a dead bat near the running path along Como Lake, and brought the creature to authorities. Eventually, the bat tested positive for rabies, but the problem was that before the concerned citizen brought the bat in, another person was seen to have touched the bat with her bare hands.
The Minnesota Department of Health immediately spread the message on social media regarding the rabid bat and the woman who was seen touching it. By Friday, there were signs around the running path that read “Rabid Bat Found Near Here,” warning passersby of the public health issue.
Fortunately, the woman who touched the bat immediately contacted authorities and is already being given the proper medical attention.
Along with the announcement that the woman was already found, the Minnesota Department of Health also gave several warnings about bats and rabies, stating that bats in the state may be carriers of rabies and that they should be avoided at all costs. In addition, though rabies can be carried by any mammal, they state that bats are especially of concern as their teeth are very small, so people might not even realize that they have been bitten.
“If someone has been bitten or exposed to a bat, it is very important to test the bat for rabies. If this is not possible, rabies prevention shots should be given as soon as possible,” said Dr. Joni Scheftel, the state public health veterinarian.
As such, authorities urge anyone who may have had physical contact with bats, or anyone who finds bats in the room of a sleeping person or child to contact their health care providers immediately.
Rabies Peak Season
Apart from Minnesota, several other states have also been dealing with rabies of late, especially since summer is the peak season for such unfortunate incidences. This is particularly because of the warm weather, as well as the increase in outdoor activities that result in chance encounters with animals. In fact, authorities in Washington gathered four rabid bats in the month of May, the highest in 20 years.
This is why it is especially important to be more vigilant of encounters with potentially rabid animals, especially in cases of animal attacks or bites. In such cases, it is imperative to immediately contact health care providers so as to get the proper post-exposure treatments which consist of one immune globulin dose and four rabies vaccine doses over a 14-day period.
It’s also very important to keep pets’ anti-rabies vaccine up to date, as they may also be exposed to animal bites.