Health Officials on Lookout for Woman Exposed to Rabies
By Nora Ankrum,
1:20PM, Fri. Jul. 18, 2008
According to a press release from the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, officials are hoping to find a local woman who they believe was exposed to rabies last weekend.
Described as a five-foot-four-inch-tall twentysomething singer-songwriter and recent Florida transplant with shoulder-length brown hair and a name that "may begin with the letter 'L'," the woman was witnessed handling a bat while canoeing at Lady Bird Lake "on or about" last Sunday, July 13. The bat was later captured and found to have rabies, so the woman may be infected without knowing it.
According to the press release, "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."
Even if she does have rabies, she might not show symptoms (which range from fever and headache to "confusion, sleepiness, or agitation") for one to three months after infection – by which point it may be too late for her to get help. According to the press release, "Once someone with rabies infection starts having these symptoms, that person usually does not survive."
If you think you might know the young woman – or if you are her – please notify health officials via any of the following numbers:
- 512/972-5555 (Austin/Travis County HHSD Surveillance Unit)
- 311 (Austin/Travis County HHSD Animal Services)
- 512/972-6007 (Town Lake Animal Center Rabies Clerk)
- 254/778-6744 (DSHS Zoonosis Control)