On Jan. 24, a deceased bat was found on a parking lot in the 3700 block of John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Three days later, the Arkansas Department of Health notified North Little Rock Animal Control that the bat tested positive for the rabies virus.
Beyond awareness of surroundings, no immediate action is necessary by residents. Note that according to the CDC, rabies infection in humans is extremely rare. If residents have any questions they may call NLR Animal Control at 501-791-8577.
In accordance with North Little Rock Animal Control’s standard operating protocol when a test returns positive, the city will be placing “Rabies Warning and Information” flyers on doors for a few blocks in every direction.
Rabies in humans is rare in the United States. There are usually only one or two human cases per year. But the most common source of human rabies in the United States is from bats. For example, among the 19 naturally acquired cases of rabies in humans in the United States from 1997-2006, 17 were associated with bats. Among these, 14 patients had known encounters with bats. Four people awoke because a bat landed on them and one person awoke because a bat bit him. In these cases, the bat was inside the home.
There are some signs of abnormal behavior that may indicate a bat is rabid. This would include outdoor activity during daylight hours, a bat found on the ground and paralyzed or unable to fly, or a bat that bites a person or animal. It is important to note that not all rabid bats show abnormal behavior, but those that do are more likely to have rabies. A rabid bat will usually die within a few days after showing signs of the disease. Tests performed on the bat’s brain will confirm rabies.