Rabid Bat Bites 11-year-old along Lake Ouachita

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A rabid bat bit an 11-year-old girl in Garland County Tuesday (3/21). The Health Department tested the animal found near the Blakely Dam on the shore of Lake Ouachita.

The girl was bit on her finger and is sore but a potential rabies infection is the concern after the bat tested positive for rabies. 

The bat was found along the shore of the lake near the dam. The family was on a hike when it happened. 

The family says the girl picked the bat up off a rock before it bit her and then flew out into the water but swam back to shore.

Officials are thanking the girl's mother for her wherewithal to not only trap the bat, but collect it and send the bat to Hot Springs Animal Services which then sent it to AHD. 

Animal Services Chief Dan Bugg said, "We would be nowhere and we would have a child that's been exposed to a positive animal and if she became sick in the next couple of months people in the medical profession would be going crazy trying to figure out what this was because they don't see this."

This area is Corp of Engineers controlled. We're told a Ranger has spoken to the family as they try to pinpoint exactly where the bat was found and maybe where it came from. 

They'll try to determine if this bat was a one-off or if they have a rabid bat population in the area. They'll hope to collect more bats to test. 

Hot Springs Animal Services says it's rare to have a bat test positive for rabies this early in the year. The city points to the fact the entire state has had a slow year for rabies cases. There were only 23 cases in 2016 while in 2013 there were 152. 

A human getting bit with a rabies infected animal is even more rare though. The family says the 11-year-old girl got a rabies vaccination shot soon after the bite. She had her first shot Friday in a series of four that are required moving forward. We're told she'll be ok.

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