Monday, May 3, 2010

Bats are Evil and Depressing Part 2 *UPDATED!*

Subtitled Rabies is Scary

So, as most of you remember from the bat blog the other day, there was a bat all up in my house on Saturday. And if you don't remember, you should re-read it. But I'm not linking to it, because it's, like, two blog entries ago, and you can probably find it on your own.

Well, a friend of mine had messaged me after I wrote it saying, "Hey, not to alarm you, but you can't always feel bat bites and you might need a rabies vaccine." Which freaked me out a little, but whatever. I called our doctors' afterhours lines. My line said we were probably ok, Rhi's line said get the vaccine.

So, I'm confused. So I call Mike, and do a lot of Googling, and after a lot of upset, we decide to wait until Monday, talk to our actual *doctors* and go from there.

My appointment was this morning. And my doctor was totally unconcerned. She said she doubted a bat would just bust up into my bed and bite me for no reason, and that she wouldn't advise the shots, because the chances are slim to none of rabies, anyways.

Whew, right? Not so fast.

Rhi's doctor calls, and he advises that we get the shots. Because if you do get rabies, you die. The end. And you don't die nicely, you die horribly. And, apparently, of the cases of rabies discovered that led to death, 26 of the 28 appear to have come from bats. 20 of those people had never mentioned being bitten by a bat in any way, shape, or form. Not even to their families and closest friends.

So I inquired how to get the shots, and Rhi's doctor said that they didn't carry them and to call the county health department.

So ok.

I do, where they, of course, don't have them, or have any idea where you get them. OF COURSE. Because god forbid anyone know what to do if something serious as hell totally happens or anything. *rolls eyes*

But, they do put me in touch with a very nice woman who handles animal type issues for the county. And she tells me that about 1% of bats are rabid, that the fact that the bat went away from Shane and didn't just lie fluttering on the floor or go towards him is a good indicator of health. And also that rabies isn't in season, which makes no sense to me, but whatever. She advises not to get the vaccine.

Then Rhi's actual doctor calls me. (I know I said doctor before, but it was his nurse. Which probably makes sense if you have a pediatrician, as they seem to never want to get on the phone.) And he's still skeptical, but agrees that it is hard to get the shots. But he says he'll totally write a doctor's order for us, but he wants to run it by the state animal health person (which is probably not their actual title.) So he'll call back tomorrow and let me know what's up.

This entire thing has made me utterly confused. I have no idea what's happening or what to do, or if I have to make my poor three year old and I get a series of 5 shots over 14 days (no, the rabies shot isn't in the stomach anymore, and, yes, it's considered safe for preggos. And I'm not including Shane in this equation because he has flatly refused to even consider the vaccine anyways.)

But I do know this.

If you have a bat in your home ever, KILL IT AND SEND IT OFF TO BE TESTED. Don't crush its head because they have to test the brain. And then you won't have to go through a confusing nightmare of utter annoyance like we are.


I'll update you all on this tomorrow.

Rhi's doctor called and said the state guy can't call him back until tomorrow, but he's done his own research and believes that, according to information from the CDC, that we are at extremely low risk. However, it still all hinges on what the state dude says, and he will call tomorrow. Hence the update #1 part.


gardenofsimple said...

You're right, or your friend was. I didn't think of that. I work at Syracuse University and we get a fair amount of bats in the residence halls - MOST of the time they can be caught and released. But if there is suspected or unknown contact (like a bat in a room with a sleeping person) we're supposed to catch it and send it to EHO for testing, and the person is supposed to get a rabies shot. So yeah, if you can find the shot - I'd get it.

Summer said...

You know what, the bats that get in around here are endangered so they make you catch them and put them back outside, or call animal control and have them relocated.

When I worked at a daycare that was in an old church, they would get in the actual building part a lot more than I deemed socially acceptable.

Pretty hard to keep a gaggle of screaming children calm when you yourself are realizing that the low basement ceilings of your classroom simply mean less room for Mr. Batty to buzz your head.

Star said...

You all should totally understand that I'm a paranoid crazy person once crazy crap like this is put in my head. Like, I half expect to start foaming at the mouth. And if Shane gets rabies for refusing this shot, I will be SO pissed at him.

And, of course, for the next six months, if he's thirsty a lot or acts weird at all, I will assume the worst. Because, again, I am nuts.

Star said...

Oh, and fun fact - rabies shots cost between $2000 and $7000. Yeah, no joke.

Sara said...

EEK! Good luck! Keep us posted.

My word verification was scustab. Weird.

Harmony said...

Random story, when I was like seven walking to school one morning I met a really pretty dog that came trotting up to me. He apparently didn't like little freckled hands and bit the ever living crap outta me. My grandmother proceed to do everything that you are doing, and she got the same answer rabies isn't in season this time of year (it was right around winter, I *think*). My grandmother was going to pay out of pocket for the rabies shot until she found out the price (the price hasn't changed much), and I'm still alive. Apparently I'm not worth anything over $1500.
The bats attitude is a fantastic sign of its health, the more batty it acts the better off you are. If the bat came hop, skipping and jumping to Shane I would be worried. All creatures are judged by their attitude before a vet it called in. Odds are if you had a rabid bat in your house that fanged you, Shane would have found it in a corner all emo like.

I know right now, being massively preggo, isn't the time to be dealing with this. I still suggest a cat. :-)

gardenofsimple said...

That's an insane cost. That's bullshit. There has to be a place to get them for free. My cat can get a 5 dollar rabies shot!!!!

gardenofsimple said...

Maybe you could call the CDC and see what they say?

Star said...

They're that pricey unless you can get the maker to give you a discounted one, which, from what I'm told, can take awhile. :/

Our insurance will (probably) cover it with a doctor's order.

Seems stupid that someone uninsured would have to pay $2-7k or die if for sure exposed.