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Seeking people exposed to rabid bat at UW

Summary

A rabid bat was found near Husky Stadium at the University of Washington (UW) on Saturday, May 19 and at least one person was bitten. Multiple people were likely exposed to the rabid bat. If you may have had contact with the bat, seek medical care immediately.

Story

A bat found at the University of Washington on the afternoon of Saturday, May 19, 2018 has tested positive for rabies. The bat 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 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."

More about rabies

Rabies is dangerous, but treatable if caught early before any symptoms develop:

  • If someone has had contact with the bat, treatment can prevent infection. This treatment should be given as soon as possible.
  • Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms begin.

The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch.

Because rabies is a life threatening disease, medical advice must be sought promptly if a bat comes into contact with humans or animals.

For more information about bats and rabies, and how to safely avoid bats, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/bats