LAS VEGAS - Rabid bats have exposed two people and three pets to rabies, prompting the local health district to issue a rabies alert.
The people and pets are undergoing rabies treatment. Prompt vaccination usually prevents infection, which is rare but usually fatal, according to Dr. Gary Goldberg at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
The exposures occurred in August in Clark County.
The people were both exposed when their cats brought bats home, said Jennifer Sizemore, spokeswoman for the Clark County Health District.
One person was bitten by the bat. Another woman was exposed by spraying bat blood and brain matter after she beat it to death with a sledge hammer.
Humans and animals do not have to actually be bitten by a rabid animal to get infected with rabies, Goldberg said. Instead the virus can be transmitted through the mucous membranes or respiratory system.
One exposed cat was voluntarily euthanized by its owner because the animal's rabies shots were not up to date. The other cat has its shots and is being quarantined at home for six months. The third exposed pet, a dog, also is being quarantined following exposure to a rabid bat trapped in a garage.
All three bats involved in the cases tested positive for rabies, Sizemore said.