Seeking people exposed to rabid bat at University of Washington
May 23, 2018
(SEATTLE, WA.) – The Seattle-King County Public Health Dept. says a rabid bat was found near Husky Stadium at the University of Washington (UW) campus on Saturday, May 19 and at least one person was bitten.
CLICK TO ENLARGE: A big-eared Townsend bat (Corynorhinus townsendii). Photo: U.S. Gov’t.
Multiple people were likely exposed to the rabid bat while attempting to help the individual remove the bat from his hand at a UW fraternity. “If you may have had contact with the bat, seek medical care immediately,” said a statement released Tuesday by the health department. “Rabies can be life-threatening, but treatable if caught soon after exposure and before any symptoms have appeared. Once symptoms develop, rabies is almost always fatal.”
The bat that was found at the UW did test positive for rabies. It was reportedly found near Union Bay behind Husky Stadium at around 2:00 p.m. The bat acted aggressively and bit at least one person, latching on to that person's fingers.
The person who was bitten sought assistance from others in removing the bat at Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at the UW campus prior to seeking medical care. The health department received the positive rabies results from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory on May 21
Who is at risk
Any person or animal that touched or had contact with the bat or its saliva could be at risk of getting rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. Fortunately, rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear.
Anyone who had contact with this bat at or near Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity on the UW Campus (4509 19th Ave NE in Seattle), including in an alleyway or areas near the fraternity, or near the water or docks by Husky Stadium should seek medical care immediately, including anyone who helped to remove the bat. Pets that might have been exposed should be seen by veterinary care promptly.
Rabies is treatable if caught before symptoms appear, so identifying anyone who has had contact as soon as possible is important," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Contact includes touching a bat, being bitten, scratched, or any other bare skin contact with a bat or its saliva."