Houston woman bitten by rabid bat near downtown

A woman is having to undergo rabies treatment after being bitten by a bat in an apartment parking garage.

HOUSTON - A woman is having to undergo rabies treatment after being bitten by a bat in an apartment parking garage.

The complex is located next to Buffalo Bayou Park.

"It was about the size of a frog, and I felt it hit my hand, and I flung it away,” said Katie Koenig, who was bitten.

She grabbed her phone and quickly snapped a picture.

"That's when I realized it was a bat, and I looked down at my hand, and my hand was bleeding,” she said.

Inside an apartment's parking garage on Memorial Drive near downtown last Thursday night, she flagged down help.

"They say it's like needles, tiny, and that a lot of people don't even know they've been bitten,” Koenig said.

Firefighters trapped the bat in a coffee can, and 24 hours, later Koenig got a call it tested positive for rabies.

"Most years, we don't even have human contact with bats,” said Porfirio Villarreal, spokesman for the Houston’s Health Department.

City leaders tell KHOU they see 20 to 40 bats test positive for rabies each year. However, they're no stranger to Houston. One of the largest colonies is just a few blocks away under the Waugh Street Bridge, although Animal Control isn't sure where this bat came from.

"They're with us, they're part of the eco-system and they're beneficial,” Villarreal said.

However, Koenig's learning they can also be costly.

"I was told the first treatment was $4,000 and I need a series of treatments over a series of weeks, plus hospital visits on top of that,” she said.

Expensive because she doesn't have insurance and never imagined she'd need big help because of a tiny creature.

"I just hope it doesn't happen to anybody else, and I hope that people are aware that it does happen, because I wasn't,” said Koenig.

Animal control says they do not go out and randomly test bats. It's only if they're reported to 311.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment