11/20/2014

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Healthworks

Second rabid bat found at Madison Park

SEATTLE – Another rabid bat has been found in Seattle’s Madison Park, posing a potentially fatal health risk to the public.

A park visitor found the bat clinging to the bottom of a tree on the playground at Madison Park on Saturday, Aug. 13.

The visitor notified park grounds workers who immediately taped off the area and called animal control. The bat tested positive for rabies.

Any person or pet who touched the bat or had contact with its saliva could be at risk to develop rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. Rabies can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear.

Public health officials are asking the public to call them immediately if any person or pet had contact with a bat at Madison Park Saturday. Parents with children who were at the playground that day should ask their kids if they had any contact with a bat.

Another rabid bat was found at Madison Park near the beach in July.

“This bat was from a different, more solitary species than the rabid bat found at Madison Park beach earlier this summer,” said Dr. Meagan Kay, veterinarian and medical epidemiologist for King County Public Health. “This tells us that the two cases were an unusual coincidence, not suggestive of an outbreak among local bat colonies.”

Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch. In Washington state, most cases of rabies in animals occur in bats.

Public health officials can be reached at 206-296-4774.

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