fort hood, texas — The Fort Hood Veterinary Center (VETCEN) was notified Monday, July 28, that a bat found near the Department of Public Works motorpool, building 4001, tested positive for rabies.
The bat, showing signs consistent with rabies, was humanely euthanized and submitted for rabies testing at the Texas Department of Health Services Laboratory. Fort Hood Veterinary personnel and Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Preventive Medicine are currently investigating this case for possible exposures.
According to Dr. John Kuczek, officer in charge of the Fort Hood VETCEN, “If you find a bat in your home or building it is imperative to call a professional to retrieve it and have it tested for rabies.” If you need assistance with retrieving a bat or animal, call the Military Police at (254) 287 – 4001. Kuczek noted, “Sometimes people will shoot the bat out of the house not thinking about getting it tested.” Kuczek also noted, “Children, sleeping adults and intoxicated individuals may not know they have been bitten as bat bites are often not severe enough to see or feel.” Therefore, it is important to know the signs and symptoms associated with rabies and seek care if you suspect exposure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “the rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.”
This is the fifth identified case on Fort Hood since May 12. The first case involved a skunk that was sighted during daylight hours acting strangely in a motor pool on Motorpool Road. The second case, on May 16, involved a dark gray and white kitten that attacked a Fort Hood resident outside a home on Central Drive on post. The third case, on June 6, involved a young fox which was thought to be injured when found in the vicinity of the LV Phantom area and building 53905 near Clarke Road. The fourth case also involved a bat found near the DPW motorpool.
Public Health Command and the Fort Hood Veterinary Center strongly urge all Fort Hood Soldiers, civilians, contractors and residents to be aware and avoid handling wild or stray animals.
If you notice any wildlife or stray animals acting abnormally, or displaying neurologic or aggressive behavior, please contact the Military Police at (254) 287-4001. If you believe you have already come into contact with an animal displaying any of these symptoms please go directly to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Emergency Department for immediate care.
Get more rabies information by visiting these Web sites: www.cdc.gov/rabies or http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/discond/aid/Pages/Rabies.aspx.