LAYTON, Utah – Seven Layton High students are being screened for rabies after hundreds, possibly thousands, of bats were found inside the school, according to the Davis County School District.
Thursday District Spokesperson Chris Williams confirmed two students touched the bats and have been referred for medical treatment.
Williams said another five students who may have come in contact with the bats are being screened to see if they should receive treatment for rabies.
”If there’s been any contact with a bat, they need to get a hold of a teacher or administrator or contact the health department, and we can evaluate to see if anything else needs to be done,” Dave Spence said, Deputy Director of the Davis County Health Department.
Health officials said they are working with the Davis County School District to assess the situation and interview others who may have had contact with the bats.
“This is a serious illness,” Spence said. “It’s not a joke and people should treat it seriously.”
Earlier this week officials closed Layton High’s auditorium after the Brazilian free-tailed bats got in through a pair of dampers which have since been repaired.
Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources is helping safely and humanely catch and release the bats, hundreds each night.
However, officials said it could be a while before all the bats are rounded up.
Experts said if the bats had easy escape routes, like open doors and windows, they would likely be gone already.
However, officials said it’s too hard for them to fly low, navigate a hallway and exit the building.
The Davis County Health Department tweeted, “Rabies is a serious illness. You can’t tell if a bat has it. Do not touch any bats you see. Call 801-525-5200 if you have exposure questions.”
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.