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Resurgence of Rabies

Thomas O. Schmida, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(9):1043. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170220109025.
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I enjoyed the article by Fisher1 in the March 1995 issue of the Archives. I was, however, somewhat dismayed at the recommendation that bats be removed from barns. While I would not want to share my bedroom with a bat colony, I believe that Fisher is perpetuating a myth regarding the risk for bat rabies. Although I am not an expert on bats or rabies, it is my understanding that bats are not "carriers" of rabies in that, when a bat contracts the disease, it develops paralysis and is unable to fly. Therefore, if people are educated to avoid touching or attempting to pick up a bat, the risk for being exposed to a bat bite is negligible.

There is increasing awareness of the importance of bats in controlling insect overpopulation, and many farmers are putting up bat houses around their fields and orchards.

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