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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – For the second time in less than a month, another Hoary bat captured in Arlington has tested positive for rabies.
The infected bat, found September 27 on the grounds of Gunn Junior High School in the 3000 block of South Fielder Road, was declared rabid by the Texas Department of State Health Services Rabies Laboratory three days later.
Arlington Animal Services staff notified Gunn Junior High School administrators. The Arlington Independent School District in turn notified parents about the health and safety concerns and encouraged any students who may have had contact with the bat to notify Arlington Animal Services.
Earlier last month, Arlington Animal Services officials found another rabid Hoary bat from the area of 1100 Forrest Drive.
Prior to the rabies positive in early September of 2016, the most recent occurrence was a skunk that tested positive two years ago in South Arlington off Calendar Road. In addition to bats and skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes are all high-risk carriers of rabies.
Any wild animal that does not show fear of humans or appears sick or sluggish, should not be approached under any circumstances.
Hoary bats normally roost alone on trees, hidden in the foliage, but on occasion are seen in caves with other bats. It prefers woodland, mainly coniferous forests, but hunts over open areas or lakes. It hunts alone and its main food source is moths.
Bats are not frequently active during daylight hours. Those that are seen actively moving around during the daylight hours may be infected with the rabies virus, and should be reported to Animal Services, immediately. Bats and other wildlife should never be approached under any circumstances, day or night. If you see one during the day, make sure people or pets do not get near the animal.
It is also important to notify Animal Services if any people, pets, or livestock come into contact with a bat, or any wildlife, even if the animal is no longer in the area.
Rabies is always fatal. People and animals may become infected with the rabies virus if an animal that has the disease bites or scratches them. Anyone who is exposed must take a series of post-exposure injections to prevent them from becoming infected with the fatal disease.
Pet owners are reminded that all dogs and cats are required by state law to be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age, and on a 1-year or 3-year basis thereafter, depending on the type of vaccine used.
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