Louisville health officials looking for person who picked up live bat inside local bar | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Louisville health officials are trying to track down the person who picked up a bat inside a local bar.

In a news release Friday, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness said a bat flew into Railyard Billiards & Sports Pub on Barret Avenue on June 17. A customer reportedly picked up the bat — using a towel — and released it outside.

The health department now wants to talk to that person to make sure they’re not infected with rabies and make sure no one else came into contact with the animal.

“Fortunately, rabies is a rare disease but it is a terrible disease,” said Dr. Kris Bryant, associate medical director for the health department. “Once symptoms develop, we really don’t have effective treatment. Almost everyone who develops symptoms of rabies dies.”

The person who picked up the bat is asked to call 502-574-5745.

According to the health department, no bats have tested positive for rabies in Jefferson County this year, but three tested positive last year.

Experts say bats are very active in the summer months, because it is their mating season. If you find a bat in your home or come into contact with one you’re asked to use something like a box to contain the animal so that healthy leaders can test the bat for disease.

“People should always take precautions if they encounter a bat. The first step is to never touch one,” Connie Mendel, chief health strategist for Louisville Metro, said in a news release Friday. “Transmission of rabies can occur through a bat’s bite or the animal’s saliva if it gets in a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound. Additionally, someone may not realize they have been bitten by a bat because they have very sharp, tiny teeth.”

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