Eastern Iowans Exposed to Rabid Bat at Omaha Zoo
Some forty Iowans, including several from the Cedar Rapids area, are undergoing treatment for rabies after potentially coming into contact with a rabid bat at a zoo in Omaha, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
More than 180 people in all were asked to get the rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, which contains the rabies vaccine, after a wild bat was found near one of the people who were attending one of the overnight campouts at Henry Doorly Zoo earlier in July. The Gazette reports that a total of 186 campers, including children and adults, were contacted by the Nebraska public health department. Among that group were dozens of Iowans, mostly adolescents and their parents.
The Nebraska department of public health told the Gazette that everyone contacted by them was told of the situation and have either begun taking or are on their way to taking prophylaxis. Linn County Public Health confirmed that anyone locally who was affected has been contacted and all necessary action has been taken.
The suggestion to get the rabies vaccine came after a camper staying in the aquarium on July 3rd woke up with a wild bat near her head. Seven bats were found in the building, one of which tested positive for rabies. Linn County Public Health officials say that they recommend anyone sleeping in a room with a bat the ends up testing positive for rabies, get the vaccine.
Officials from St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids say that they gave the rabies vaccine to 27 people who were affected locally. Mercy Medical Center also confirmed they too were seeing people affected, but would not confirm how many.
Officials say that bat bites are hard to detect, and the once someone develops rabies, there is no cure. Most of the time, rabies leads to death.