Austin's Animal Services Office, the Rabies Control Authority for Austin and Travis County, reports that several people have recently come into contact with bats near the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, home to one of the largest colonies of Mexican Free Tail bats in Texas.
Bats commonly carry the rabies virus, a disease fatal to humans. Because of the large size of the local bat colony, Central Texas has the highest statewide concentration of confirmed rabies infections in bats.
Nine bats have tested positive for rabies since August 7th, but no case in humans has been confirmed.
Persons should make every effort to avoid contact with bats, especially a bat that is on the ground, not moving, or appears to be dead. If you see a bat, do not touch it!
You should immediately call 3-1-1 to notify Animal Control officers who will respond to collect the bat for testing. Additionally, and only if it can be safely done, cover the bat with something to prevent anyone else from touching it until officers arrive.
If you have recently been exposed to a bat, or know someone who has, please call 3-1-1. Medical follow-up may be necessary.
Bats are particularly beneficial to our environment routinely leaving their nesting place at dusk to feed on insects such as mosquitoes and flies.