Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials are trying to find out whether anyone was exposed to a pair of rabid bats that were left by an unidentified woman last week at a veterinary facility in St. Paul.
On Thursday, Sept. 6, two dead bats were dropped off at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) for rabies testing by an unidentified woman. This woman left before the VMC staff could get any contact information for her. Both bats tested positive for rabies.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is now seeking to learn if the woman, or anyone else, had been exposed to the bats while they were alive. If you are the person who dropped off these two bats, or know the person who did, please call MDH at 651-201-5414 so rabies disease specialists can assess whether or not anyone should receive rabies prevention shots. Your personal information will be considered strictly confidential.
This situation is a reminder that bats in Minnesota can carry rabies and that the public should take this risk seriously. Rabies is a fatal illness that is transmitted through bites from infected animals. Bats are of particular concern because their teeth are so tiny that a bite may not be felt or even leave a noticeable mark. If a person has any physical contact with a bat or finds a bat in the room of a sleeping person or unattended child, the bat should be captured safely and submitted for rabies testing. Never touch a bat with bare hands.
“If someone has been bitten or exposed to a bat, it is very important to test the bat for rabies,” said Dr. Joni Scheftel, State Public Health Veterinarian. “If this is not possible, then rabies prevention shots should be given as soon as possible.”