Nebraska Zoo Says 200 People Possibly Exposed To Rabid Bat

OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska zoo says, around 200 individuals may have been exposed to a rabid bat while staying overnight at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Approximately 186 campers who spent overnight at the aquarium in recent weeks, as well as several staff members, were advised to receive rabies vaccines by the zoo and Nebraska health officials.

On July 4, a camper awoke to a wild bat buzzing over her head. She had no bites or scrapes, according to a zoo emergency medical technician.

Seven wild bats were discovered in the aquarium and were killed by the zoo. One of the people tested positive for rabies.

The zoo warned in a news release on Friday that anyone who was exposed to wild bats while sleeping should obtain rabies vaccines. The zoo issued refunds to campers and is covering the cost of their vaccinations.

Guests that visited the aquarium during the day need not be alarmed, according to Animal Health Director Dr. Sarah Woodhouse, because bats only come out at night.

“The bats we found were Little brown bats, a common bat species in Nebraska that can be found in anyone’s garden or attic,” says the researcher “According to Woodhouse. “It is not uncommon for a wild bat to get infected with rabies, which is why you should never come into intimate contact with one.”

The zoo’s workers found no evidence of long-term bat roosting at the aquarium. While the staff tries to figure out how the bats got into the facility, the zoo has shifted all overnight camping activities elsewhere.

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