Boy picked up bat that tested positive for rabies

This photo provided by Wesley Treat shows spectators watching from the Congress Ave. bridge. (AP Photo/Wesley Treat)
This photo provided by Wesley Treat shows spectators watching from the Congress Ave. bridge. (AP Photo/Wesley Treat)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Health officials are trying to track down a 6-year-old boy who reportedly picked up a bat that later tested positive for rabies.

The incident happened about 9 p.m. Monday under the Congress Avenue Bridge at Lady Bird Lake.

The City of Austin’s Animal Services Office and the Austin-Travis County Heath and Human Services Department are working to find the boy. An observer said the boy was wearing a green shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call the health department at 512-972-5555, or 512-802-1575 if it is after 5 p.m.

Rabies exposure occurs only when a person is bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal, or when abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes are contaminated with the saliva, brain, or nervous system tissue of a potentially rabid animal.

It may take several weeks or longer for people to show symptoms after being infected with rabies. The early signs of rabies can be fever or headache, but this changes quickly to nervous system signs such as confusion, sleepiness, or agitation.

Once someone with a rabies infection starts having these symptoms, that person usually does not survive. This is why it is critical to talk to your doctor or health care provider right away if any animal bites you, especially a wild animal.

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