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Bats in the Belfry: Camp Doctor vs Rabies

Bats in the Belfry: Camp Doctor vs Rabies

I went a little crazy while serving as camp physician a few summers ago. I overheard 2 ten-year olds talking about how scary it was when a bunch of bats were flying around inside their cabin after the critters had been disturbed by some smoke from a grill. Upon further investigation by local pest experts, it was determined that a group of bats had indeed been nesting inside a cupola (kind of like a belfry…) at the top of the cabin. Ten boys and 2 counselors had been sleeping in this cabin for 4 nights.

What would you have done at this point?

A. Order rabies immune globulin and vaccine for everyone in the cabin.

B. Inspect the 12 persons sleeping in that cabin for signs of bite marks and treat anyone with anything remotely suspicious.

C. Nothing needs to be done since no one had been bothered by these bats until they were smoked out

D. Have the pest experts trap all the bats and have their brains examined for rabies by the closest veterinarian school and treat only if a positive result for rabies virus.

E. Draw antirabies serum titers on the 12 persons and repeat in 10 days; treat anyone with a 2-fold rise in titers.

For the answer, discussion, and outcome, please click here.


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