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Bat found on Lake Harriet path tests positive for rabies

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A bat found on a popular path at one of the Minneapolis chain of lakes last week has tested positive for rabies, the state health department said Wednesday. 

The bat was seen between the Lake Harriet Band Shell and the Lyndale Park Rose Garden between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 10. A person brought the bat to a local wildlife rehabilitation facility, where it died on Aug. 12. Test results came back positive for rabies on Aug. 14.

The Minnesota Department of Health said that anyone who touched or otherwise had physical contact with the bat may need rabies shots, and to call 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 to find out more.

"If someone has been bitten or exposed to a bat, it is very important to test the bat for rabies," said Dr. Joni Scheftel, state public health veterinarian. "If this is not possible, rabies prevention shots should be given as soon as possible."

A spokesperson with the health department said they have contacted the citizen who brought the bat to the rehabilitation facility.

Rabies is a fatal illness that is transmitted through bites from infected animals. Bats have such tiny teeth that a bite may not be felt or even leave a noticeable mark.

Because of this, bats that have been touched or found in the room of a sleeping person or unattended child should be captured and submitted for rabies testing.  Shots may be recommended as a precaution.