Following exposures and potential exposures at a historic downtown condominium building, health officials announced on Friday that one bat tested positive for rabies and that at least 9 people were receiving rabies vaccines. The Belvedere building, located at 29 S. State St., and resident Kim Cawdery’s apartment were both reportedly invaded by many bats earlier this month through what Cawdery described as a hole in the building’s façade.
According to her, animal services picked up the most recent bat, which she christened “Matt the Bat,” last week, around September 15. The bat that tested positive, according to Nicholas Rupp, spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, was discovered on September 15.
In an interview with KSL 5 on Friday night, Cawdery stated, “I was working on Tuesday and they said, “We’re sorry but, ‘Matt the Bat’ is rabid.” Cawdery claimed to have started rabies prophylaxis already. Health officials urged everyone who might have come into contact with the building’s bats to get the prophylactic.
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To inform inhabitants of the potential risk, warning posters were also distributed around the building. One of the signs stated, “Residents have reported bats in your building.” Call the Salt Lake County Health Department at 385-468-4222 if you have discovered a bat in your apartment or saw one on the property.
Additionally, the posting advised locals to try to contain the bat, perhaps by covering it with a container and to call Salt Lake County Animal Services at 801-743-7000 if they came across one. Because a bat’s claws are so thin, even the slightest contact with one might result in visible scratches, according to Rupp. “Prophylaxis is timely, it’s crucial to complete that task promptly, as rabies is thought to be 100% lethal as soon as symptoms appear.”
Additionally, he issued a warning that bats in all areas of Salt Lake County might be rabid. When she originally brought the matter to their attention about three weeks ago, Cawdery said she wishes the building management and HOA had taken more action to fix it.
“They ought to have posted those bat notices as soon as they discovered they were there!” Cawdery noted that the placards had only recently been put up, only a day or two prior. After Friday’s listed hours, attempts to contact management representatives of The Belvedere were unsuccessful in getting a response until late Friday night. Cawdery stated that she only hoped to put the ordeal behind her with the final two shots of her prophylactic medication.