There Goes The Neighborhood: Rabid Bat Found In Back Bay

A bat found in the Back Bay tested positive for rabies, health officials said.
A bat found in the Back Bay tested positive for rabies, health officials said.

A bat found on the sidewalk yesterday afternoon in front of 244 Clarendon Street in the Back Bay tested positive today for rabies, and Boston Public Health Commission officials are asking anyone who had direct contact with the rabid bat to notify them and to contact their healthcare provider.

Boston Animal Control officers, responding to multiple calls from the neighborhood, picked up the rabid bat late Tuesday afternoon from the sidewalk on Clarendon Street and took it to the Massachusetts State Laboratory for testing. Animal Control officers said at least two reports suggested someone had been bitten by the rabid bat.

``If anyone was in direct contact with this bat yesterday, they need preventive treatment against rabies, and they should contact us and their health care provider as soon as possible,’’ said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission. ``Persons who did not touch the bat are not at any risk.’’

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of a rabid animal, usually because a rabid animal bites or scratches another person or animal. The virus may also get into the body through open cuts or wounds, or through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Once people get the virus, it spreads through the body and is often fatal. Prompt preventive treatment is very effective in preventing rabies in people who have been exposed.

This evening, health officials will post fliers at churches and businesses along Clarendon between Commonwealth Avenue and Newbury Street advising anyone who had contact with the bat to call the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611.

This program aired on August 24, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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