Almost 200 People at Zoo May Have Been Exposed to Rabid Bat

common pipistrelle bat

Rabies shots have been recommended for 186 people who may have been exposed to a rabid bat while staying overnight at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

A camper woke up July 4 in the aquarium and found a bat flying around her head, The Associated Press reported.  No bites or scratches were found, but the zoo located seven wild bats in the aquarium. 

The bats were euthanized and one tested positive for rabies, the Associated Press said

The zoo recommends that the 186 people who stayed overnight plus some staffers should get rabies treatment. The zoo is paying for the shots and giving refunds to the campers, The Associated Press said.

The Omaha World-Herald said state and Douglas County health officials urge campers who stayed in the aquarium the nights of June 29, June 30, July 2, and July 3 to receive rabies treatment.

Zoo officials said the bats were wild and not part of the zoo’s bat population. Overnight stays for youth groups will be moved to a different location while the zoo figures out how the bats got into the building, The World-Herald said.

Animal Health Director Sarah Woodhouse said in a statement bats only come out at night, so people who visited the zoo during the day don’t need rabies shots.

“The bats we identified were Little brown bats, a common bat species in Nebraska that anyone could find in their backyard or attic,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “It is not unusual for a wild bat to be infected with rabies, which is why you should never directly touch a wild bat.”

WebMD Health News


The Associated Press: “Nebraska zoo says 200 people possibly exposed to rabid bat”

The Omaha World-Herald: “186 overnight campers at Omaha zoo potentially exposed to rabid bat found in aquarium”

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