An injured bat collected from Calico Jack's bath and body company in Manassas, Virginia, tested positive for rabies and may have infected anyone who handled the bat before officers arrived, according to the Manassas City Police Department.
On the afternoon of Saturday, July 6, an Animal Control Officer with Manassas police responded to a call at 9115 Center St. — Calico Jack's — for an injured bat, police said in a press release. After the bat was retrieved from the store, it was found to be rabies-positive.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system, and can be deadly if left untreated, according to the Center for Disease Control. It can be spread to people and their pets if they are bitten or scratched by an animal with the disease, which is transmitted through the saliva of the infected animal.
Manassas police believe that unknown people physically handled the infected bat before the animal control officer arrived, and are warning the public that anyone in contact with the animal is at high risk for rabies and serious health-related issues.
The first symptoms of rabies can feel like the flu, and include general weakness or discomfort, fever, or a headache, the CDC says. The bite from the infected animal may also itch or prickle.
According to the CDC, the treatment for rabies, known as postexposure prophylaxis, or PEP, should be administered as soon as possible after exposure to the disease, so it is vital that anyone who handled the bat seek medical attention immediately.
Manassas police are asking anyone who came in contact with the bat to immediately contact the Prince William Health District at 703-792-7329, as well as Senior Animal Control Officer Daigle at 703-257-8102.
There are no health risks to the general public; only those who came in contact with the infected bat.