AUSTIN (KXAN) - Health officials are trying to track down a man who handled a headless bat presumably positive for rabies.
The man, around 40 years old, touched the decapitated bat Thursday evening on the hiking trail near the bat observation area on the south side of the Ann Richards bridge, according to Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department officials.
They submitted the bat to the Department of State Health Services lab, but an autopsy couldn't be performed because the animal wasn't intact. However, it is presumed to be positive for rabies.
Public health crews are needing to find the man who handled the bat so that they can talk to him about the potential exposure to rabies.
The man is described as having a medium build, and he has white-and-gray hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Disease Surveillance Program at 512-972-5555.
In-Depth: Rabies exposure and symptoms
Exposure happens only when a person is bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal, or when abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes are contaminated with the saliva, brain, or nervous system tissue of a potentially rabid animal.
It may take several weeks or longer for people to show symptoms after being infected with rabies.
The early signs of rabies can be fever or headache, but this changes quickly to nervous system signs such as confusion, sleepiness, or agitation.
Once someone with a rabies infection starts having these symptoms, that person usually does not survive. This is why it is critical to talk to your doctor or health care provider right away if any animal bites you, especially a wild animal.
Head online to find out more about bats and rabies exposure.
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