Passengers on 'Bat' plane cleared of rabies risk

April 12, 2012
Passengers on 'Bat' plane cleared of rabies risk
But health, airline authorities should be prepared to deal with wild intruders, CDC says.

(HealthDay) -- Health investigators have confirmed that a bat that flew through the cabin of a U.S. commercial airliner last summer did not transmit rabies to 45 of 50 passengers assessed, the three flight crew members or 16 ground crew members who were in close proximity to the winged stowaway.

The U.S. located and interviewed nearly all of the passengers on board the early morning flight that departed from Madison, Wis., last August. Neither the passengers nor any crew members were in physical contact with the bat or its saliva, and all said they were alert during the flight, the CDC said.

The bat, which took flight in the aircraft cabin shortly after takeoff, was temporarily barricaded in a restroom, the report said. But after the plane returned to the airport, the feared intruder escaped outdoors and could not be tested for rabies.

A series of injections can prevent rabies in people exposed to the virus, but the shots must be given right away, or the disease can be fatal. While none of those on board required vaccination in this instance, bats active in daylight can pose risks for rabies transmission, the CDC warned in its , published Thursday.

"Although a bat, or any wildlife, aboard a commercial airliner is unlikely, public health practitioners should be prepared to respond to potential exposures to rabies and other infectious agents, including during air travel," the CDC said in a statement.

In the previous decade, 21 humans in the United States suffered rabies infections, and bats were the cause in 15 cases, the CDC said.

An inspection of the airport facilities revealed no other evidence of or droppings, but the CDC made several recommendations to reduce the possibility of bat exposure. It suggested the airport place netting over chinks and crevices that might house bats, and said the jetways at each gate should be extended and retracted before the first morning flight. Airport employees should also be trained on correct procedures for bat capture and preparation for testing, the report said.

Symptoms of in people include fever, headache and fatigue, followed by confusion, hallucinations and paralysis. Once symptoms appear, death is likely.

Explore further: Bat on Wisconsin flight prompts rabies probe

More information: To learn more about rabies, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related Stories

Bat on Wisconsin flight prompts rabies probe

August 12, 2011
(AP) -- Health officials say a bat on a flight from Wisconsin to Atlanta last week has sparked a national search for passengers to protect them against possible rabies.

CDC looks for 15 passengers of flight with bat

August 14, 2011
(AP) -- Health officials are still looking for 15 passengers who were on a flight in which a bat flew inside the airplane's cabin so they can protect them against the possibility of rabies.

First death by vampire bat in US

August 11, 2011
A teenager from Mexico became the first person in the United States to die after being bitten by a vampire bat and infected with rabies, US health authorities said on Thursday.

Recommended for you

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

Vaccines protect fetuses from Zika infection, mouse study shows

July 13, 2017
Zika virus causes a mild, flu-like illness in most people, but to pregnant women the dangers are potentially much worse. The virus can reduce fetal growth, cause microcephaly, an abnormally small head associated with brain ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.