PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Department of Health (HEALTH) are advising people who were in the Kennedy Plaza area on January 23, 2012 at approximately 8:45am be evaluated for possible exposure to rabies. A man described as Latino in his mid 50's, approximately six-feet tall, with a beard and glasses reportedly had a bat in a box and was displaying the bat to a crowd of people gathered there. DEM and HEALTH are concerned that people may have had contact with this bat and subsequently been exposed to rabies. DEM and HEALTH are asking for this man, or anyone else who could have had contact with this bat to call (401) 222-2577 or 272-5952 after hours for a rabies risk assessment. Bat rabies is highly transmissible to humans, and can be transmitted without being bitten or scratched by the bat. As a result, many times the rabies vaccinations are recommended if there is no visible bite mark and the bat is not available for testing. Rabies is fully preventable if treatment is initiated soon after an exposure. Timely vaccination after rabies exposure is 100% effective in preventing human rabies.
DEM and HEALTH advise that all people avoid contact with wildlife.
HEALTH and DEM make the following recommendations: · Avoid all contact with stray or free-roaming domestic animals. · Avoid all contact with wild animals. · Call HEALTH if you have had any contact with a stray or free roaming domestic animal, or a wild animal.