Minnesota health officials are looking for anyone who might have come in contact with two rabid bats that were dropped off last week at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center.
An unidentified woman dropped off the dead bats to be tested for rabies at the St. Paul clinic and left before employees there could get any contact information. Health officials want to talk to the woman to learn where the bats were found and whether anyone came in contact with them while they were alive, when they could have transmitted the disease.
Health officials ask anyone with information to call 651-201-5414 so a rabies disease specialist can assess whether someone should receive rabies prevention shots. Personal information will be kept confidential.
Rabies is a deadly illness that is transmitted through bites from infected animals, health officials said. Because the teeth of bats are tiny, a person might not feel a bite or see a noticeable mark.
Health officials advise that a bat be captured safely and tested for rabies if it touches a person or is found in the room of a sleeping person or unattended child. Never touch a bat with bare hands. Information, including a video, on how to capture a bat safely for testing can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health’s website at bit.ly/2Mp8Kfc.
“If someone has been bitten or exposed to a bat, it is very important to test the bat for rabies,” said Dr. Joni Scheftel, state public health veterinarian. “If this is not possible, then rabies prevention shots should be given as soon as possible.”