Rabies concern after bat bite at Round Rock Walmart

(AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Officials are trying to find a woman who may have been exposed to rabies after she was bitten by a bat at a Round Rock store.

Witnesses say the woman was bitten while leaving the Walmart at 4700 E. Palm Valley Blvd. on Wednesday at 9:15 p.m

“It was actually shoppers who witnessed the actual biting and encounter,” said Marcus Cooper, a spokesperson for the Williamson County and Cities Health District.  “A few of the witnesses said they saw that the bats were flying low may have hit her on her leg or feet.”

Investigators were called to the store but the bat had been released and the woman was gone. Officials were unable to determine if the bat had rabies and are trying to track down the woman.

She was white, possibly in her 20s, and wearing shorts, flip flops and a blue colored shirt. Anyone with information about the woman is asked to call the Williamson County and Cities Health District at 512-200-3778

“The primary concern is that she get diagnosed, tested and treated, the first three days after a bite is critical,” said Cooper.

It may take several weeks for people to show symptoms after being infected with rabies. The early signs of rabies can be fever or headache, but can change quickly to confusion, sleepiness or agitation. Once someone with a rabies infection has the advanced symptoms, that person usually does not survive.

KXAN News received several Report It emails with customers concerned about the bat problem inside the store.

“We were shopping as any other store trip and we just saw bats flying around and it’s not the first time we had seen the bats,” said Chris Barnhill who shot cellphone video of bats flying inside the store. “Some of the bats were flying pretty low at eye level in some cases.”

His video shows bats swooping down over the aisle.

A Walmart spokesperson said on Friday that the colony, which had about a 100 bats, have been removed. The company said that area had also been sealed off so no other bats could get in. Walmart said its also reviewing surveillance cameras to confirm if the woman was bitten by a bat.

Round Rock Animal Control and the county said if people ever have bats inside their homes or business to call animal control and never handle them.

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