CALDWELL —A bat that bit an 8-year-old girl near Indian Creek Tuesday has tested positive for rabies, Southwest District Health confirmed.
Twila Quinn, who works in the circulation department at the Press-Tribune, said the bat crawled up her granddaughter, Jasmine Ruiz’s, leg and bit her. The incident happened just before 2:30 p.m. at the Caldwell creek.
Ruiz’s mother called 911 and paramedics responded quickly and took the girl to the hospital, Quinn said.
The bat was captured by animal control and taken to a state lab for testing.
Now that the bat has tested positive for rabies, Ruiz will have to receive a series of vaccine shots that will prevent her from contracting the disease, David Loper, environmental health director for Southwest District Health said.
“Our protocol is if this bat is positive we will work with the bite victim to get the appropriate treatment,” he said.
He said it is not uncommon for people to come in contact with bats this time of year. Typically, if bats are behaving abnormally or acting sick it becomes more of a cause for concern, he said.
Quinn said her granddaughter was out in the open when the bite occurred and wasn’t playing under the bridge.
“I’m just concerned about all the children that play down there,” she said.
If people see a bat, they should not touch it or play with it, Loper said. Also, if people wake up and find a bat in their room, they should seek treatment immediately and consider themselves exposed. Bats have sharp teeth, and if they bite you while sleeping you might not be aware of it.
Immediate treatment of the disease is a very effective way to prevent rabies, Jennifer Tripp, preventative health program manager for Southwest District Health said. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.
If you find a bat in your home or one that is acting strange, call your local animal control office. For more information call Southwest District Health at 455-5400.
More information can also be found at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/.