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Man unknowingly exposed to rabies sought by Metro Health

Metro Health: Man grabbed bleeding bat with bare hands

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SAN ANTONIO – A man who was unknowingly exposed to rabies is being sought by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

A man walked into the CVS Pharmacy at 4730 Fredericksburg Road around 9:20 p.m. March 28 with a bleeding bat inside a paper bag, Metro Health officials said.

Another customer grabbed the bleeding bat with his bare hands and placed the animal in a cardboard box. Officials said the bat later tested positive for rabies.

The man who grabbed the bat didn't know he was potentially exposed to rabies, but left the pharmacy without a trace, according to Metro Health.

Rabies is a viral illness spread via the saliva of an infected animal. Metro Health said this happens usually through biting a human or another animal. Transmission can also occur through saliva touching an open wound.

Metro Health is reminding the community to:

  • Teach children that they should never touch wildlife or any roaming animal, regardless of whether it is living or dead. Children should be taught to tell an adult immediately if they see or touch an unknown animal in close proximity to people or pets.
  • Adults should also refrain from feeding, touching or handling any wildlife or unknown animals.
  • If anyone or their pet makes contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon, coyote or other wildlife, San Antonio residents are urged to call Animal Care Services at 311. Officials said county residents can call Bexar County Animal Control at 335-9000.
  • Pets that come into contact with wildlife should be confined to prevent further exposure to people or animals. State law dictates that any actual or potential rabies exposure must be reported to the local rabies authority for investigation and potential testing, officials said.
  • Vaccinate pets against rabies.
  • If the unknown animal is within a home or building, keep the animal confined, but only if it can be done safely and without direct contact.  
  • If at all possible, wait for Animal Control to respond and avoid striking the animal. Officials said physical trauma can damage the brain and make it impossible to conduct rabies laboratory tests.

The man is urged to call Metro Health at 210-207-2095 to start rabies prophylaxis, Metro Health officials said.