A Waxahachie child is undergoing treatment after being bit by a bat in a local swimming pool Saturday afternoon.
The city was notified Tuesday afternoon by state health officials that the bat has tested positive for rabies.
In a press release, city environmental health officials said efforts are under way to determine if anyone else was exposed to the disease through contact with the bat at or near the swimming pool of Northtown Village Apartments, which are located in the 1200 block of U.S. Highway 287 West Bypass.
According to the press release, the bat bit a male child while he was swimming. Animal control officers recovered the bat, which was taken to a local veterinarian to submit for testing.
“The parents of the child who was exposed to the bat were immediately notified (of the results) and steps were taken to have the child treated,” according to the release, which notes the Texas Department of State Health Services defines exposure as occurring through an animal bite that breaks the skin or via broken skin or mucous membranes that have come into contact with saliva or brain matter.
Officials said they don’t know how long the bat was in the swimming pool and they’re encouraging parents whose children were at or near the pool to talk with them about whether or not they handled the bat.
“Parents also need to stress the importance of not touching unfamiliar animals whether they are dead or alive,” the release reads. “The health department urges residents to refrain from touching or handling any bats they may encounter. Please also remember that vaccinating your pets is the first line of defense against rabies entering your house.”
Anyone who has questions or who thinks a child may have been exposed can contact the city’s environmental health department at (972) 937-7330, ext. 150, or call state health officials at (817) 264-4920.
Additional information also is available at www.dshs.state.tx.us or http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/zoonosis/diseases/RABIES/information/rabbat.asp.