Health officials issue warning after rabid bats were found in the Valley

- Maricopa County health officials are issuing a warning, after some rabid bats were found in North Phoenix and the Northwest Valley.

There are a ton of bats in the valley, and people may see them swirling around street lamps at night looking for bugs, of flying in groups in the night sky. Some people think they are adorable, and will approach them or try to catch them out of curiosity. County health officials say that's a bad idea. In fact, two rabid bats were discovered in the Valley last week.

For two people, the bats' discovery is leading to painful treatment.

"We have a couple of people in the West Valley that are getting rabies shots now, after they pulled a live bat from their swimming pool and it handled it, bare handed it," said Levy.

Several days later, a downed bat was discovered in a Costco parking lot near Cave Creek and Beardsley Roads in Phoenix. 

"We contacted Costco," said Levy. "We have no known human exposure to that bat."

Levy says there were seven confirmed cases of rabid bats in the county last year which is higher than the usual four or five. Levy says two in one week is odd.

It's worth getting educated and warning kids, because if a person is exposed to an animal that tests positive for rabies, they will be treated with several shots.

They don't wait for symptoms.

"One thing with rabies is if somebody did have a rabies exposure, you don't wait for symptoms," said Levy. "once symptoms start, you're pretty much history. You're on your way out. So, rabies is one of those if you have exposure, you treat up front."

The bat found in the Costco parking lot was reportedly near a cat, but that cat did not appear to belong to anyone. and it's not believed any one was exposed. Levy says they just want everyone to know thjat bats should not be feared, but they should be respected and left alone.

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