September 12, 2019
Bat found in downtown Minneapolis tests positive for rabies
Health officials seek anyone who may have had contact with the infected animal
A bat found in downtown Minneapolis near the corner of Marquette Avenue and 6th Street on Tuesday, Sept. 10, has tested positive for rabies. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) would like to talk with anyone who may have touched or had physical contact with the bat.
A group of work colleagues saw the bat around 1 p.m. on Sept. 10. They captured it while it was still alive and brought it to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory that afternoon. The bat tested positive for rabies on Sept. 12.
Anyone else who may have had physical contact with the bat should contact MDH at 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 to determine whether rabies shots are necessary.
Bats in Minnesota can carry rabies and people should avoid contact with them. 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. If the bat is not available for rabies testing, the person who came into contact with the animal should receive rabies prevention shots.
“If someone has been bitten or exposed to a bat, it is very important to test the bat for rabies,” said Carrie Klumb, senior epidemiologist and MDH rabies surveillance coordinator. “If this is not possible, the person should get rabies prevention shots as soon as possible.”
Anyone with concerns about an animal bite or an encounter with a wild animal should contact their health care provider right away. To learn more about rabies and how to protect yourself, please visit the MDH Rabies website. The site includes instructions on how to capture a bat safely for testing. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) also stresses the importance of working with your veterinarian to keep pets and livestock current with rabies vaccinations. For more information, visit the BAH Rabies webpage, or talk to your veterinarian about concerns specific to your animals.