Be careful where you go on night walks; bats can be found anywhere. In the past couple of months, multiple states – including California, Texas, Colorado, and Utah – have experienced issues with rabid animals, notably bats.
Although tiny bats may seem harmless, some bats can carry rabies, a serious disease that can turn deadly if not treated correctly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, explains, “The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.” A bite from an untamed animal should be taken seriously. If a person is infected with the virus, doctors will prescribe a fourteen day regime which will include four shots of the rabies vaccination.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, West High School experienced bat infestations. One day a bat scratched a member of the school, and that person later received a vaccination along with 40 other students. Fewer than 30 miles away, Layton High School locked its auditorium due to a bat infestation. The building’s attic provided shelter for over 1,500 bats. The horde of furry friends living above their heads stunned high school officials. After discovering the enormous colony, Animal Removal and Prevention Company stepped in and removed the bats from Layton’s attic.
Around the campus, bats littered the floors and bathrooms. Students found the creatures far too interesting to leave alone. Several students ignorantly picked up the bats while playing around. Others placed the animals on each other’s shoulders, not understanding the harm bats can inflict. Even though not all bats carry rabies, the disease can be nasty and must be treated as soon as a person comes in contact with a bat.
In one case from 2016, a woman from Wyoming woke up to a bat on her neck. After removing the bat from her neck she washed her hands, but did not notice any bite marks. She decided not to seek medical attention. However, a month later, she experienced symptoms of rabies. Her husband, co-workers, and everyone else with whom she was in contact received a vaccination, yet the woman died from the disease. Rabies can infect people with or without a bite; once bats settle in a public location, people should be cautious and take measures to prevent infection.
(Sources: Salt Lake City Tribune, Fox News, CDC, NPR)