Rabid bat kills so. Indiana resident, experts detail bat safety

Print
Email
|

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 28, 2009 at 12:21 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 28 at 12:21 AM

It is only the second human rabies death in Indiana in the last fifty years.  Indiana health officials say the victim was a Clark County resident bitten by a bat who “had not reported any exposures of concern.”

"I was saddened to hear of an individual dying from rabies and my sincerest condolences to the family for their loss,” said State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D.  “Although rabies is a rare disease, it is a fatal disease.  If anyone is bitten by a bat or other suspected rabid animal, they should seek medical attention immediately."

In Kentucky, 41 rabies cases have been reported in animals this year, mainly in skunks and bats, including one bat in Jefferson County.  Chances are, at least one of Kentuckiana's 16 species of bats live either near or in your home.

“They can live in attics.  They can live in buildings that are being used constantly, abandoned buildings.  They can live in caves. They can live under tree bark,” explained Steve Wing, the Louisville Zoo General Curator.

“They are very nocturnal and only come out at dark,”  Wing continued, saying the best time to spy a bat is at dusk, especially near streetlights or anything else that is attracting insects.  Insects are the sole diet of all bat species found in Kentuckiana.

Wing is the Louisville Zoo's "batman."  He has a pre-emptive rabies vaccination, but he says none of the bats that have bitten him have been rabid.

“Bats will not attack. Even if they are rabid, even if they have rabies, they will not attack,”  Wing said, adding that if a bat does not attempt to fly away from a human, that could be a sign of rabies.

“Never, ever, ever approach a wild animal, no matter... especially if it looks like it is approachable.”
 

Print
Email
|