Photo: GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images
Harris County health officials are warning Pasadena residents that have recently been near a north Pasadena shopping center to be cautious after a live bat seen in the area tested positive for rabies.
According to Harris County Public Health Department officials, on Aug. 24 at 11:30 a.m., customers reported seeing the bat outside near the Ross store at Southmore Avenue and Pasadena Boulevard.
According to Martha Marquez, spokesperson with HCPHC, City of Pasadena health department authorities responded and were able to capture the bat, which later tested positive for rabies.
HCPH authorities are now urging the public to be aware of the dangers of rabid animals in proximity to human contact or to pets.
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Bats, along with skunks, are considered high-risk animals in the area, said Marquez, and seeing a bat in daylight is a red flag.
Nocturnal by nature, a rabid bat can get disoriented and will behave erratically.
"Bats get sick just like we do and when they get sick and confused they start acting out of their normal behavior," Marquez said. "That is an indication that something is not right."
Because bats carry the virus in their saliva and mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth), any skin contact can be dangerous.
What qualifies as physical contact?
"What happens is that bats have very small teeth, but they are very sharp and can be like needles," Marquez explains. "If you brush against them, you may think it didn't scratch you, but maybe it did."
This is why HCPH is asking anyone who believes there is a chance, even a slight chance, they had contact with a rabid bat or animal to contact authorities.
While bats are generally not predatory to humans, a rabid bat will behave out of nature and unpredictable, so the threat is always present, Marquez said.
Harris County officials are also reminding the public of the importance of vaccinating pets because of their susceptibility to rabid animals, and pets can also transmit humans with rabies.
"This is why it's important for us as pet owners to make sure our animals are up to date on vaccines," Marquez said.
Rabies if left untreated can be fatal for both pets and humans, said Marquez said.
"Rabies is a very serious disease, and there is a chance (of fatality), and that is what we are trying to prevent for anyone who might have come in contact," she said.
For anyone who may have had contact with this bat or any rabid animal, contact HCPH Veterinary Public Health at 281-999-3191 as soon as possible.
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1 September 2018
1 September 2018