I might have Rabies. Great.

August 6, 2011

Adventure is fun until a rabid bat lands on you. I am loving Colorado, but rabid bats never landed on me in Los Angeles. I guess that’s the trade-off for a beautiful natural setting and lots of water and greenery and bugs. Damn.

So, here’s what happened:

After a delicious lunch at Pizzeria Locale (burrata+pecorino+squash blossom pizza), I strolled down Pearl St to check out their downtown/outdoor mall area. I was about to walk into a store called Clutter Consignment when something landed on my arm. I figured it was a big bug, a grasshopper or something – a preying mantis fell onto me last night from an overhanging plant – but when I looked down at my arm, there was a BAT. And adorable bat, yes, but my immediate reaction was to shoo it off. I had the heebie-jeebies so I ran into the Clutter Consignment store to escape the bat, who was flying erratically and bumping into the window. My arm felt a little itchy, but I’m not sure if that was from his claws, or if I was just freaking out. I talked to the girls who worked there, and while they’d never heard of a bat landing on someone, one of them mentioned rabies. Eeek!!! That made me glad I’d immediately gotten him off of me.

After the bat seemed to have left, I continued walking. I stopped in a kite store, an art gallery, and sat and listened to an impressive violinist play some songs from The Red Violin. I made my way to the Cup, a coffee shop with wifi. Out of curiosity I googled bats+rabies. I also googled rabies+bats+boulder colorado, and found this delightful article:

“Two bats in Boulder have tested positive for rabies, according to Boulder County Public Health officials, who are warning people to not pick up the animals.

The first bat was found Thursday outside an entryway at 845 20th St. The second bat was discovered Friday chirping outside the entrance to Clutter Consignment, 1909 Ninth St.”


I want to go on a historical bus tour of Boulder, and the last one I’ll be able to make before I leave is in 40 minutes, at 4pm. I think I’ll do the bus tour, and then head to the hospital.



12 Responses to “I might have Rabies. Great.”

  1. hoang said

    wow just wow

  2. I hear Woodland Hills in LA has a rabid bat problem as well. But once you are inoculated maybe you won’t have to worry about it. I’d say if he landed on you, you might need the vaccine for vampires. yipes.

    • lunasealife said

      I suppose that’s the upside – now I can play with rabid animals for a few years without worrying! 🙂

  3. Is it bad that I laughed when I read the title?
    Breathe, it will be okay.

  4. I hear foaming at the mouth is all the rage this summer; totally in fashion!

  5. […] can read more about my encounter in this blog post. I’ve done a bit of research since the incident, and I’m pretty this is the guy I saw, […]

  6. […] every card but one. For fixed expenses I’m down to one credit card, one hospital bill (from the rabid bat incident last summer) and my college […]

  7. Robert Wilkinson said

    Please read this article!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Boulder, Colo. – Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) was notified on April 10 that a dog was found playing with the bat near a home in Longmont on April 9. The bat was collected by Longmont Animal Control and sent to the state laboratory for rabies testing. Test results have confirmed that the bat is positive for rabies. This is the first animal positive for the disease this season.
    Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system and is always fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear. In 2011, 17 bats found in Boulder County tested positive for rabies. Across Colorado, 104 animals tested positive for the disease in 2011.
    “Fortunately, the dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, and the dog’s owner did not touch the animal and called animal control,” said Carol McInnes, BCPH environmental health specialist. “People are most commonly exposed to rabies when they pick up a bat off the ground, try to remove a bat from their house, or take a bat away from a family pet.”
    Bats are the most common animal source of rabies in Colorado. On average, about 15 percent of bats submitted for rabies testing do test positive for the disease. Other wild animals that may carry rabies include skunks, raccoons, and foxes.
    “It is normal to find a bat hanging under the eaves of a house, under a porch overhang, or hidden behind shutters or gutters,” said McInnes. “But if you see one in the house or on the ground, please be cautious. Because bats are active mostly at night, seeing one during the day is a very good indication that something is wrong.”
    Exposure to rabies is generally the result of a bite or scratch by an infected animal, and it is sometimes practically undetectable, such as a tiny puncture of the skin by a bat. Treatment for rabies exposure involves a series of 5 injections given in the arm over a 28-day period.
    Public health officials recommend that the following precautions be taken to reduce your risk of exposure to rabies:
    • Do not disturb or touch any bat found outdoors. If you see a bat outdoors that is acting aggressively or appears to be ill, cover it with a box or can and notify animal control.
    • If you find a bat indoors and are absolutely certain no pets or people had contact with the bat, confine the bat to a room and open an outside window or door to let it escape.
    • If there is any possibility that a person or pet may have had contact with the bat – such as waking up to find a bat in the room – it is very important that the bat be carefully captured for testing. If the animal is released without testing, it will be assumed that the bat was infected with the rabies virus, and anyone who came in contact with the bat must receive the series of rabies shots. Again, rabies is always 100% fatal unless treated before symptoms appear.
    • To capture a bat for testing, wear heavy leather gloves, wait until the bat lands, place a coffee can or box over it, slide a piece of cardboard underneath it, and tape it down securely. Bats can escape through very small openings. Contact your local animal control officer to pick up the bat.
    Residents that find a bat should call their local animal control office. For questions about human contact with a bat, call the Colorado Health Information Line at 1-877-462-2911.
    For general information about rabies, visit http://www.BoulderCountyVector.org.

    Chana Goussetis
    Marketing and Communications Specialist
    Boulder County Public Health

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  8. Robert Wilkinson said

    I failed to notice your remark that you were going to the hospital later. I assume you did, and were given the series of rabies shots. I had to go through the process several years ago when a bat hit me while I was bicycling just after dark in Texas.

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