Four Rabid Bats Found in East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/25/06 - Lufkin

Four Rabid Bats Found in East Texas

by Jessica Cervantez

Just a few months ago a teenager died in the Houston area after being bitten by a bat with rabies.  Now, more rabid bats are turning up in East Texas.

Texas has about 32 species of bats. About a third of them can be found in East Texas. Don't worry about the bats at the Ellen Trout Zoo, the Asian Flying Fox and the Neo-tropical Fruit bat remain inside all the time, and have had no exposure to rabies.

The zoo director said four bats testing positive for rabies in this area, isn't that unusual.

Gordon Henley, the Ellen Trout Zoo director, said, "They really do quite good work most of the time, taking care of insects and mosquitoes, and it's unfortunate some of them do carry rabies."

The two bat cases Dr. Doug Ashburn has dealt with have tested positive. One of those tests was just last week.

Dr. Doug Ashburn, a veterinarian, said, "In one of them the bat was found, when a dog that was on a line and the bat was found on it.  It was found during the daytime, there was no indication if the dog had played with it or not."

In the other case, a cat was found playing with a dead bat. There is no way to tell if a bat has rabies by just looking at it.

Gordon said, "If they are out in the daytime something is not right, normally, have a great fear of people and try to leave people alone."

Rabies is a serious disease that you need to be cautious about.

Dr. Ashburn said, "It is almost always fatal, only one or two humans that have survived the disease, that is why it is so important to vaccinate."

The dog and cat that were exposed to the bats have both been quarantined.  If you believe you have had any exposure to a bat you should get medical attention immediately.  Smith and Polk County have also had confirmed cases of rabid bats.

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