By ADAM SCHRADER
Published in The Dallas Morning News on Sept. 25, 2015
Lewisville city officials asking for help in identifying children who were seen playing with a rabid bat between baseball fields 7 and 8 at Lake Park sometime between 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday.
The bat tested positive for rabies but the children were gone before animal services arrived on the scene and they still have not been located, said Ethel Strother, animal services supervisor for the city of Lewisville, said Friday.
Bats aren’t too common in the area, especially during the day.
“Any wild animals, even stray cats, you should call animal control and report it because they can carry rabies,” she said. “if you see any nocturnal animals during the daytime, like bats, skunks and raccoons, you should contact the authorities immediately.”
Strother said that she doesn’t want to start a panic, but the incidence is cause for concern. Bats have such small teeth that they could bite a victim who might not even know they’ve been bit.
“So it’s urgent that the kids come forward because they have a 10-day window to start the rabies vaccinations,” she said. “We’re already on Day 6.”
During that 10-day window, bite victims won’t show rabies symptoms, so once the flu-like symptoms start, it’s too late to start the treatment series.
“Nearly all the fatal cases in Texas came from a bat and people didn’t even know they were bit at the time,” she said. “The thing is, we don’t know how long the bat was there before those kids found it. Maybe another group of kids touched it first. There was the potential to have a lot of traffic in that area in that day, so we don’t know.”
If you can help identify the exposed children, call animal services at 972-219-3478. For more information, visit cityoflewisville.com.