Lynchburg Health Dept. Warning of Bat Attacks

Lynchburg, VA - You may have been exposed to a deadly disease and not even know it.

The Lynchburg Health Department says more than two dozen people in our area have been treated for rabies so far this year.

One Lynchburg family recently finished their last round of rabies shots, but they say they still a very long road ahead.

"What we know is it flew up the foyer," Chelsea St. Clair said, walking to the second story of the family's home.

St. Clair says the brown bat began attacking her bedroom door.

"I kicked the door shut and that's when it got smashed in here and fell down her. And blood started to pool down here," St. Clair said pointing to the door.

Her husband wrapped the bat in a towel and put it outside while she checked on their sleeping children. Their doors were open. Both were considered exposed.

"When he came back, it had crawled out of the towel, spread its wings, it was a good six or seven inches, and it just flew off," St. Clair recalled.

The health department says although 6% of the entire bat population carries rabies, they're responsible for the vast majority of human deaths in the U.S.

The environmental health manager said part of the reason is because many people don't realize they've been bitten.

"If they're not going to wake up to me screaming, they're not going to wake up to a bat bite. So that was where the problem came in," Chelsea St. Clair explained.

The family of four went through four rounds of treatment and spent hundreds of dollars on medical bills.

The health department says bats are just like many animals and tend to mate during the spring time, and that may be why they're seeing so many possible cases of exposure.

If you have been in contact with a bat, you're asked to call the health department.