Hillsborough kids play with rabid bat found dead on playground, officials say

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WNCN) — Orange County Animal Services has received its eighth positive rabies test result of the year, according to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.

This incident involved a bat.  The County recorded a total of 23 positive cases last year, a marked increase in the number from the two previous years which had 12 positive cases each.

The case originated on Thursday, when a dead bat was found on the playground of a Hillsborough elementary school.  Several students reportedly kicked the dead bat around before teachers were informed of its presence.  Once informed, they removed the bat from the play area safely and called Animal Control to remove it for testing.

No animals are involved in the case, but a Communicable Disease Nurse from the Orange County Health Department is contacting the families to evaluate whether the children involved are at risk of rabies exposure.  As always, a decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type situation.

Of the few cases of rabies in humans in the United States in recent years, most have been traced to bats.  If there is any possibility of exposure from a bat, it is critical that the bat be safely contained without human contact and that citizens immediately contact their animal control program. If an incident involving a bat – or other rabies vector – should occur outside regular office hours, an Animal Control Officer can be reached by calling 9-1-1.

The other dominant host species in our area is the raccoon.  Other animals can contract rabies a host species, a process known as the “spillover effect.”  The other species that are most susceptible to getting rabies from raccoons are dogs and cats, groundhogs, foxes and skunks.


The final Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics of 2015 will take place:

  • Thursday, October 8, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the River Park Farmers’ Market Pavilion, located at 140 E Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.  Only cash will be accepted for this clinic.
  • Thursday, November 12, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Animal Services Center, located at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.  Microchips will also be available at this clinic for $25.

The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10.  Clinic dates for 2016 will be posted at http://orangecountync.gov/AnimalServices/rabies.asp toward the beginning of the year.

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919.942.7387.

— All information from Orange County Animal Services

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