orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

May 8, 2013

Bat that bit child tests negative for rabies

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

BEAUMONT — Test results for a bat that recently bit a person have come back negative for rabies.

Matthew Fortenberry, Beaumont Animal Services Supervisor, said he Houston Department of Health and Human Services confirmed results were negative for tests on a bat which bit a child recently inside a house on San Anselmo Street in Beaumont.

“The tests came back negative, so this person doesn’t have to worry about rabies or about having to go through the series of shots for treatment,” Fortenberry said. “The bat was obviously sick, it just wasn’t rabies. It was some other bat disease.”

Fortenberry said this was the second call pertaining to a bat in the house at this address in recent weeks, but the first call of a person being bitten by the bat.

“The first call was a totally different bat, which just got caught up in bed covers. We don’t believe it bit anyone, so it can be released.” he continued. “Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with the second bat because it bit a person.”

According to information provided by Fortenberry, bats are high-risk animals when it comes to rabies and, with any potential human bites or actual bites, testing is mandatory. If no contact were made, then it would be recommended to release the bat into the wild.

Beaumont Animal Services captured the bat in the house on San Anselmo Street this past Sunday and sent the animal to a lab in Houston on Monday for testing.

The months of May through August is the typical maternity season for bats in our region of the country. Many bats which are encountered on the ground could be babies which are learning to fly or even mother bats which are overburdened with the weight of the pups.

Fortenberry recommended caution when a bat is encountered and suggested a person never handle the animal, but instead contact your local animal control authority so they remove the animal and determine if it is ill or able to be treated and released back into the wild.

For more information on bats visit www.batworld.org.