LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock Health Department and City of Lubbock Animal Services are asking the public to help identify an adult male who may have been exposed to a rabid bat.
The City is still looking for the man who dropped off a bat at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on October 5th around 7:30 a.m. The man was driving a white extended cab Chevrolet pickup truck with a toolbox in the back. The bat tested positive for rabies, and it is important that this individual is found.
"It Is imperative that we talk to him to find out if he had any contact with the bat or if any domestic animal had any contact with the bat," said Gail Barnes, the Director of the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Anyone who comes in contact with a rabid animal should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Rabies is a viral illness that can be transmitted to humans through an infected animal's saliva. The illness can be prevented with treatment before symptoms begin. However, once a person has symptoms, the disease is almost always fatal.
Lubbock is home to 12 species of bats, including the Hoary Bat, and they are all important to the ecosystem. The Hoary Bat is the largest bat in the United States and lives in trees and shrubs, so it's called a foliage bat. Bats eat 640 insects per hour but they can carry rabies. Bats are in Lubbock year-round, but some are migrating right now.
Last month, there were six confirmed cases of rabies in the Amarillo area, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. There were three bats, a cat, a dog and a skunk.
The rabid bats in Canyon and Amarillo did not cause any exposures. However, three people were treated due to the canine case in Wheeler Co.
"Do not handle [the bats], use gloves if you need to handle them, and then you can scoop them and put them in a box and bring them to the wildlife center or you can bring it to animal control," said Barnes.
Anyone with information on this possible rabies exposure or who can identify the man should contact the City of Lubbock Health Department at 806-775-2935 or Lubbock Animal Services at (806) 775-2712.
The City of Lubbock reminds people to avoid contact with wild animals and have pets vaccinated against rabies as required by law. Anyone bitten by an animal should:
- Quickly and thoroughly wash the bite with soap and water, rinse it well, and put an antiseptic on it to kill germs.
- Report the bite to animal control so the animal may be placed in rabies observation or submitted for rabies testing.
- See a doctor as soon as possible so the doctor can decide if vaccinations to prevent rabies are needed.
For more information on Rabies visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies