A rabid bat entered a home in Milwaukee and attacked a man while he was asleep, according to a June 5 report by WISN 12 News.
The Milwaukee Health Department said the bat was captured inside the home after the incident was reported but declined to give the identity of the victim or the location of the house.
The Health Department stated it was a brown bat (pictured), which is common in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Investigators assured WISN that most bats are not rabid and they generally avoid people.
Paul Biedrzycki of the Milwaukee Health Department offered a warning for anyone who has a close encounter with a bat.
"If a bat has entered your house, and you have no idea how it entered, or when it entered, and it has access to sleeping quarters like bedrooms, we prefer to have that bat tested for rabies, and then provide treatment to the human, if necessary,” he said.
The Milwaukee man is currently undergoing a vaccine treatment for the rabies virus as precautionary measure but has not yet exhibited any rabies symptoms.
Public health officials warn of the dangers of handling bats, especially if they appear sick or dead, and also advise that any other animal--such as cats or dogs--catching or killing a sick bat may contract the deadly virus.
Rabies vaccinations should be kept current for all dogs and cats as a precautionary measure.
Any bat seen during the day is apt to be sick and ought to be avoided and reported to the local animal control or public health agency immediately, experts say. "Bats will instinctively separate themselves from the colony when they are ill," said Dawn Sylvester-Dunn of Victorville, California, who cares for sick and injured bats."It’s a species-preservation instinct.”
Rabies is a virus which affects the central nervous system, ultimately causing brain inflammation, called encephalitis, and is usually fatal in humans unless treatment is started within the first few weeks after exposure. Usually, rabies symptoms appear within three months of contracting the infection and are fatal a few days after the symptoms become active.
Early symptoms of rabies in humans include fever, headache, and weakness or discomfort, and more severe symptoms appear as the disease progresses.