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Florida woman discovers rabid bat hanging from her arm

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, July 23, 2018, 8:08 PM - Florida health officials are warning the public to exercise caution after a woman found a rabid bat clinging to her arm in Sun City Center last week.

The woman was helping a friend into her car when she felt something strike her arm, Click Orlando reports, but she didn't check to see what it was.

At home, she went to the bathroom and "discovered a small bat clinging to her arm," local department of health spokesperson Kevin Watler said in a news release.

"The woman immediately squished it with a towel."

Health officials tested the bat and confirmed it had rabies.

The woman is now being treated for the disease.

Officials are urging the public to avoid contact with wild animals. Humans or pets who are bitten or scratched by wild animals are urged to visit a health care practitioner immediately.


Rabies is a viral disease that can infect most mammals.

It is usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. It infects the central nervous system and when left untreated, the death rate is nearly 100 percent.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Headache

Rabid animals usually act in an aggressive manner, may be foaming and the mouth and display little fear of humans.

According to the Ministry of Health, the last known case of rabies infection in a human occurred in 1967 in the Ottawa area.

(RELATED: 'Zombie' raccoons terrorize Ohio neighbourhood)


The best way to protect your pets against rabies is to keep them up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.

Avoid contact with wild animals and supervise pets when outside.

If you or a pet is bitten by an animal that may have rabies, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and consult a medical professional immediately.

Humans who have been exposed to rabies can be treated with immune globulin and four doses of a rabies vaccine over a two-week period, provided treatment is started as soon as possible.

In the past, post-exposure treatment consisted of painful injections in the stomach. Today's vaccines are less painful and can be injected into the arm and thigh.


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