Four students exposed to rabies

Four students exposed to rabies
Bat tested positive for rabies.

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - Four Kilgore College students have been exposed to rabies.

It happened the afternoon of March 22 on the Kilgore College Campus where one of them picked up a live bat off the ground.

We spoke with the Kilgore Rabies Control Officer who said all four students came in contact with the bat which tested positive for rabies.

B.J. Owen, Kilgore Director of Special Services, also the local Rabies Control Authority says Thursday Kilgore College Police notified Kilgore Animal Control that a group of students had been handling a live bat they found outside near the fine arts center.

"One of the girls had the bat in her hand, so we took the bat from her and explained that we wished she hadn't touched the bat," Owen said.

They took the student's information and the bat was shipped off.

"Shipped it to Austin for a rabies test," Owen stated.

About 4 pm Friday they got the results.

"It was a rabid bat and it did come back positive for rabies," Owen revealed.

They interviewed the students to see what contact they had with the bat.

"And in all four cases they had enough contact that it was important that they take post-exposure rabies vaccinations," Owen stated.

Owen called the Northeast Texas Public Health District in Tyler.

"Told him to order the vaccines, that we were going to suggest that these girls take post-exposure Prophylaxis," Owen said.

The students thought it was a baby bat, but Owen says it was an adult.

"Any time that bat was ruffling around in their hands it could have been biting them at the same time because they are real small real sharp teeth," Owen explained.

He says they may not have felt a bite. The next step was to see a doctor.

"Have the doctor write a prescription for the rabies vaccines," Owen said.

Owen says they all agreed to take the vaccinations.

"As far as I know two of the four have already started their shots," Owen stated.

Owen adds if you've been exposed to rabies and 10 days later you run fever:

"It's too late. There's already enough virus in your blood that we can't do anything but make you comfortable and say goodbye to you because you will die," Owen said.

He says all the girls regret touching a bat found on the ground in the middle of the day.

Owen says you should be extremely cautious around any wild animal that isn't afraid of people, and that especially applies to nocturnal animals that are out in the daylight. He says notify animal control or law enforcement immediately and don't approach the animal.

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