Bat in Box Prompts Rabies Fears

"This bat, we don't know if it had rabies or not," says health official.

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Thursday, Feb 2, 2012  |  Updated 11:14 AM EDT
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Stay away from a man with a bat in a box.

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Talk about a bat-brained idea.

Health officials in Rhode Island are sounding the alarm after a man showed off a bat he kept in box while in downtown Providence – possibly exposing onlookers to rabies.

"This bat, we don't know if it had rabies or not," Department of Health spokesperson Peter Hanney told TV station WPRI. "So out of an abundance of caution we're asking people to please give us a call at the Department of Health."

Two people sought treatment by a health provider after coming into contact with the bat last week at Kennedy Plaza, Hanney said.

The bat had bitten one person, and another was treated for suspected rabies exposure after the encounter, Hanney said.

"There's different types of rabies, and the bat strain is really contagious,” Hanney said. “It doesn't need to be from a bite. It can be just from the saliva if it gets into any mucous membranes or small cuts that you may have on you, you can contract rabies that way too left untreated it is deadly."
 

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