Rabid Bats Could Have Infected 200 People At Omaha Zoo and Aquarium

By Kelly Fisher

July 13, 2021

Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) in flight at night, Belgium
Photo: Getty Images

Rabid bats might have infected hundreds of people at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha.

Now, officials are urging the group of approximately 200 to get rabies shots.

About 186 people were camping at the zoo overnight earlier this month when the potential exposure happened. Some staff members were also present, the Associated Press reported Saturday (July 10).

Of the seven wild bats that found their way into the aquarium, one tested positive for rabies. The wild bats were reportedly euthanized.

“The bats we identified were little brown bats, a common bat species in Nebraska that anyone could find in their backyard or attic,” Animal Health Director Dr. Sarah Woodhouse said in a statement. “It is not unusual for a wild bat to be infected with rabies, which is why you should never directly touch a wild bat.”

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will pay for rabies shots for the affected campers, and assured guests that anyone visiting the zoo during the day shouldn’t be concerned about exposure because bats come out at night, the Associated Press notes. Campers also received refunds.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the bats got into the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

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