Over 40 people being treated for rabies after exposed to bats at West High School

Posted at 2:31 PM, Sep 28, 2017

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah - At least 41 people who were exposed to bats at West High School are now undergoing rabies treatment, as of Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Health officials said anyone potentially exposed to rabies (which is transmitted through the saliva or brain/nervous system tissue of an infected animal) should receive the treatment.

The health department said once a person starts showing signs of rabies, the disease is almost always fatal.

The treatment, rabies postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), consists of a regimen of five shots: one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period, the health dept. said.

Officials said current vaccines are relatively painless and are given in your arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine.

The Salt Lake County Health Dept. said rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure.

Additional doses of the rabies vaccine should be given on days 3, 7, and 14 after the first vaccination, officials said.

To date, fewer than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported.

The school district said West High School sits along a migratory path for the bats and that sightings are not unusual at the school.

Health officials said, if you’ve touched a bat, don’t be afraid to tell someone.

The health department needs to hear from you to make sure you stay safe and healthy at (801) 525-5200.

There a health provider will evaluate your situation and help you get treatment if necessary. 

The health department said it is illegal to intentionally kill bats in Utah.

All species of bats are protected and some species have Federal Protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Click here for more information on rabies and treatment from the CDC

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