While several of the children who handled the bat have been identified, there may be others that need to be located, as they must be evaluated for treatment of possible rabies exposure. An exposure to rabies can be fatal for a human or other mammals, such as dogs and cats. “I urge all parents whose children may have played at Higbee Park on April 3rd, to determine if their child had any contact with the bat, and if so, to contact the Bethlehem Health Bureau immediately,” said Bethlehem Health Director, Kristen Wenrich.
It is recommended that citizens never attempt to handle a wild or domesticated animal that is not their own, as a health and safety precaution. All sick or injured animals should be reported to the local police department or animal control officer.
Pet owners are encouraged to keep dogs and cats up to date on rabies vaccine-per Pennsylvania law, all domesticated dogs and cats over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies. Do not feed wildlife, stray or feral cats, or stray dogs.
Anyone who is bitten, scratched, or otherwise exposed to an animal should seek prompt medical care. By law, all medical care providers must report these cases to the local health department for investigation.
To report an actual or potential exposure to a wild or domesticated animal, please call the Bethlehem Health Bureau at 610-865-7083.