PITCAIRN, Pa. (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department is alerting Pitcairn residents about a rabies risk after a rabid bat bit a child.
“It was like 12 o’clock in the afternoon and my daughter was playing in the grass and she got bit by a bat,” said the mother of the child, who did not want to be on camera or reveal her full name.READ MORE: New Trial Begins For 83-Year-Old Ohio Man Who Spent 45 Years In Prison
Officials said a bat captured near Second Street and Center Avenue in Pitcairn on Monday tested positive for rabies. The ACHD said at least one child was bitten by the bat and other children may have handled the bat.
The mom said she’s thankful that someone told her this happened to her daughter.
“It was actually scary because my child wasn’t going to tell me she got bit a bat. I found out from a third party. She wasn’t going to tell me she got bit by a bat and that’s really scary, especially because the bat did have rabies. If she wouldn’t have told me then the outcome could have been a lot different,” said the mother.
She said her daughter was bitten on the hand and received rabies treatment at Forbes hospital. The woman said she’s concerned about the other kids who may have touched the bat, which was in a box.
Allegheny County Health Department Epidemiologist Dr. Kristen Mertz said anyone who is exposed to rabies should seek immediate medical treatment. She said treatment involves a series of four shots over two weeks.READ MORE: Congressman Glenn Thompson Released From Walter Reed Hospital After Receiving Treatment For COVID-19
“The incubation period for rabies is variable. So people who contract it could start to show symptoms in a very short period of time – particularly if they are bitten on the face – or in weeks or months. Untreated, rabies in humans is virtually 100 percent fatal. So my message to parents whose child may have handled the bat is you need to seek medical help at once,” Dr. Mertz said.
Dr. Mertz said rabies is usually transmitted from a bite of a rabid animal. But she said, “It is also possible for people to get rabies from non-bite animal exposures, which can include scratches, abrasions, or open wounds that are exposed to saliva or other potentially infectious material from a rabid animal.”
The mother told KDKA that buildings in the borough are old, and she hopes buildings with any holes will be patched up so this doesn’t happen again.
“I never knew it was a problem until it happened to me,” she said.
The Allegheny County Health Department asks anyone who sees an animal that is acting strange to call 911 and don’t try to catch or touch the animal.
ACHD also said to make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.MORE NEWS: Deer Tests Positive For Chronic Wasting Disease In Jefferson County
If you are concerned you may have been exposed to rabies, cleanse the area with soap and water, seek medical attention and report the incident to the Allegheny County Health Department.