The Minnesota Department of Health is urging anyone who may have been exposed to a rabid bat found March 25 near Lake of the Isles to contact their doctor immediately.
The bat was found at about noon near the Lake of the Isles bicycle and pedestrian paths between 26th and 27th streets. The bat was “very apparently ill” and was brought to an animal recovery center where it later died and subsequently tested positive for rabies, said Dr. Kirk Smith, an epidemiologist supervisor at the department of health.
Smith said rabid bats are not particularly unusual; about 3–4 percent of those tested by the department turn up positive for rabies each year. In this case, it was the busy public setting in which the diseased animal was found that led the department to issue an alert.
“Somebody saw the bat in a very public place, so we have no way of knowing who may have contacted the bat before this person,” he said.
Smith said the only way to be exposed to rabies is to be bitten by an infected bat, but treatment is often recommended following any kind of physical contact with a rabid bat.
“Sometimes it’s impossible to actually see the bite wound because they have such tiny, hypodermic teeth,” he said.
Parents should talk to children who may have been in the area at the time the bat was found. Those who may have been exposed should contact their doctor or call the department of health at (651) 201-5414.