common pipistrelle bat

Almost 200 People at Zoo May Have Been Exposed to Rabid Bat

Rabies vaccines have been recommended for 186 people who may have been exposed to a rabid bat during an overnight stay at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha.

A camper woke up on July 4 in the aquarium and found a bat flying around his head, the Associated Press reported. No bites or scratches were found, but the zoo has located seven wild bats in the aquarium.

The bats were euthanized and one tested positive for rabies, the Associated Press said

The zoo recommends that the 186 people who spent the night as well as some staff members receive treatment for rabies. The zoo pays for the shots and reimburses campers, the Associated Press said.

The Omaha World-Herald said health officials in Douglas County and State are urging campers who stayed in the aquarium on the nights of June 29, June 30, July 2 and July 3 to receive treatment for rabies.

Zoo officials said the bats were wild and were not part of the zoo’s bat population. Overnight stays for youth groups will be moved to another location while the zoo determines how the bats entered the building, The World-Herald said.

Animal Health Director Sarah Woodhouse said in a statement the bats only come out at night, so people who have visited the zoo during the day do not need rabies vaccines.

“The bats we identified were little brown bats, a bat species common in Nebraska that anyone could find in their backyard or attic,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “It is not uncommon for a wild bat to be infected with rabies, which is why you should never directly touch a wild bat.”

WebMD Health News

Sources

Associated Press: “Nebraska Zoo Says 200 People May Be Exposed To Rabid Bat”

The World-Herald of Omaha: “186 campers who spend the night at the Omaha zoo potentially exposed to a rabid bat found in an aquarium”


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