HOUSTON, Texas–A bat was found on Fort Hood on July 28 that tested positive for rabies. This is the fifth case of rabid animals found on Fort Hood since May 12. Officials urge caution when encountering an animal not known to you.
The bat was found showing signs of rabies, according to a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. The bat was then euthanized humanely and tested for rabies by the Texas Department of Health. Members of the Fort Hood Veterinary staff and the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center staff are investigating this case for possible exposure to humans or other animals.
“If you find a bat in your home or building it is imperative to call a professional to retrieve it and have it tested for rabies,” said Dr. John Kuczek, officer in charge, Fort Hood Vet Center. If you need assistance with retrieving a bat or animal, call the Military Police at (254) 287-4001. Kuczek noted, “Sometimes people will shoo the bat out of the house not thinking about getting it tested.”
The press release called for vigilance for any symptoms of rabies. “Children, sleeping adults and intoxicated individuals may not know they have been bitten as bat bites are often not severe enough to see or feel,” Dr. Kuczek stated.
The press release quotes the Center for Disease Control’s rabies symptoms:
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
Officials stated this is the fifth case of rabid animals being found on post since May 12. Other cases involved a skunk, a kitten, a young fox and another bat. All of the animals were reported to be displaying unusual behaviors. The kitten actually attacked a resident near their home. The fox appeared to be injured but was instead found to be infected.
Breitbart Texas reached out to the Bell County Public Health District (BCHD) which services the civilian communities that surround Fort Hood. BCHD spokesperson Lacy Sanders told Breitbart Texas the area has a very large population of Mexican Free Tailed bats. “Most of the bat population is considered to be rabies positive,” Sanders said in a phone interview. “There have been no reported cases of bats in homes at this time.”
Sanders said the bats often form colonies under stadium bleachers and the colonies have to be removed. “Skunks are also often positive for rabies,” she stated.
“The important thing is to manage the human interaction with animals that are not known to them,” Sanders concluded. “If people think they have been exposed it is important to get tested and start treatment immediately.”
The press release concludes by reminding people to be aware of their surroundings and notice any wildlife or stray animals that appear to be acting abnormally or otherwise displaying neurologic or aggressive behavior. If you notice this type of behavior in animals contact your local law enforcement authorities. If you have been exposed or display any symptoms of rabies seek medical treatment immediately.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.