Rabies Scare After Bats Invade Dorm

HOUSTON

Bats took over a university dormitory, forcing more than 200 students into hotels and worrying health officials, who now fear the students could have been exposed to rabies.

Videos posted on the Internet show students swinging a broom and a tennis racket as several bats fly about in a dormitory hallway at Texas Southern University. One student, 19-year-old Jason Smith, said he killed dozens of bats but didn’t know of anyone who was bitten.

“When we saw the video, we knew we had a problem,” said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the city of Houston’s health department.

Health officials asked students who had been in Lanier Hall East to meet with them this week to determine whether any would need rabies vaccinations.

Texas Southern officials, meanwhile, are trying to rid the dorm of the bat infestation, said university spokesman Terrence Jackson. It wasn’t clear how many bats were in the building. Exterminators went to the dorm on Monday.

Rabies is a viral disease most often transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. It attacks the central nervous system and, if untreated, can lead to paralysis, difficulty swallowing and death.

– Associated Press



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