Were you one of the 70,567 fans lucky enough to go to the August 17 preseason game between the Ravens and the Detroit Lions? If so, you got to see a dispiriting 27-12 loss. Oh, and you might have been exposed to rabies, too.
Unless the bat that landed on a spectator in the stands during the game was the reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe (always possible!), odds are decent that it was rabid. Health officials note that one of rabies’ creepy tricks is turning normally sweet animals mean (dogs), and causing typically shy animals (bats) to become more personable. That, plus the flying rodent’s daytime appearance point to a possible rabies connection. Unfortunately, no one was quick-thinking/speedy enough to catch the bat, so it couldn’t be tested for the disease. But since rabies has a 99.99999% mortality rate if left untreated, the Maryland Health Department is assuming the worst, and spectators who were seated in the 500 section are being asked to contact their local health department.
Unsurprisingly, Maryland health officials recommend not touching bats in general, whether at football games are home. (However, as the health department reminds us, “bats are an important part of our environment.”) If a bat does enter your home, try and capture it so animal control can administer the necessary tests. Rabies can lay dormant in humans for up to two years before it destroys your brain. If you’re at all worried about exposure, contact your local health department.
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