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Bat at middle school found to be rabid

POSTED: October 6, 2007 5:04 a.m.
A Walker Middle School teacher found a dead bat Sept 6 on the ground near a sidewalk  on campus, according to Coastal Health District/Long County Health Department Director Dr. W.D. Skelton,.
The school contacted the health department, and the animal was sent for testing and was  found to have rabies.
Skelton said a letter from the health department was sent to all parents informing them of the incident, and asking them to talk with their children to make sure they had not handled any bats.
The letter also instructed parents to contact the Georgia Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 if they believe their child was exposed to the disease.
To be exposed, a person must come in contact with the mouth or wing tips.
It was reported that simply touching the fur of a bat did not mean someone was exposed to rabies.
“Once the bat was found, it was tested as quickly as possible, and the proper steps were taken to ensure the safety of everyone at the schools,” Long County School Superintendent Dr. Edwin Pope said.
“There is nothing to lead us to think that anyone was exposed to the bat, but the letters were sent home so parents could talk to their kids to make sure.”

Safety tips
According to the health department:
• People should never handle or feed wild animals.
• People should not leave garbage cans open or pet food out overnight where they might attract wild animals.
• Parents should teach their children never to play with unfamiliar animals — wild or domesticated — even if they appear to be harmless.
• Owners of dogs, cats and ferrets need to keep vaccinations up-to-date on their pets. Failure to do so is a crime.
• People need to report all animal bites to the police department and the county health department.
 

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