Health Department issues bat warning - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Health Department issues bat warning

The Shelby County Health Department is issuing a warning after a bat tested positive for rabies.

The bat attacked a man in Overton Park earlier this month. The incident has visitors taking precautions.

"I guess I'll be a little more careful coming through this park," said Ross Fowler, as he walked his dog Bessie through the park.

It is the second bat to turn up at Overton Park since the beginning of the year, and the first bat to test positive for rabies in Shelby County since the year 2000.

The Health Department says the victim saw two men run out of some bushes with a bat on their trail. The bat then turned on the victim.

The Health Department is extra concerned because rabies attacks your central nervous system and is almost always deadly when left untreated.

"Try to avoid bats if possible, secondly if you do see them, a sick bat or something like that, do not touch the bat, and one thing you might want to try is to bat proof your home if you live in an area where you've seen bats," said L.C. Garth, Manager of The Shelby County Health Department's Vector Control Office.

Most rabies cases are caused by bat bites and they can pass it on to both people and pets. Fowler is not taking any chances with his dog Bessie.

"I think every pet owner has a responsibility for his own pets and everybody else's in a way to not spread something like this. I mean rabies shots are real important," said Fowler.

This attack was also unusual because it happened in the daytime. "Most of the time if he's out then he's sick or he's injured. Normally bats are only out at night," Garth said.

The victim in this case rushed to the doctor, and received the appropriate treatment. You are urged to seek medical attention immediately if you come into contact with a bat.

Shelby County Health Department: 901-544-7717

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