By Kathy Walsh
PARKER, Colo. (CBS4)– There is a new warning about avoiding wild animals that can carry rabies. A 4-year-old from Parker just finished a series of painful rabies shots because her parents were afraid she may have been bitten by a rabid bat.
According to Tri-County Health Department, this little girl is one of more than 30 people who have needed rabies prevention in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties this year.
The mother of the little girl from Parker told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh she didn’t want her daughter’s name used, but she was willing to tell their story to warn others.
“I look up and I just all of a sudden freeze,” said Paris Marker.
That’s because on Aug. 5, a bat in her home stopped her in her tracks. It was hanging on a light in the upstairs hallway of her new Parker home.
“Kind of crisscross, like bats do, I guess,” said Marker.
She is pregnant and she says she panicked.
“My husband thought my water broke because I was so shocked and stunned,” Marker explained.
They suspect the bat got into their home through an open door. Marker says her husband and a neighbor used a fishing net to get it out.
“At the time, I didn’t know what we were getting into,” Marker explained.
She was urged to call Tri-County Health. That’s when she got frantic about her 4-year-old. The fear was, with the preschooler’s bedroom door open, she could have been bitten while she was asleep.
“I learned that you don’t necessarily feel or see a bat or the bat bite,” said Marker.
With no bat to test, there was no way of knowing if it was rabid.
“Rabies is 100 percent fatal. We couldn’t take any chances,” explained the concerned mother.
The next day, the frightened little girl started a series of four intramuscular shots of vaccine to prevent rabies. According to Tri-County Health, she is one of more than 30 people who have had the shots this year in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
“These are mostly related to situations where someone has touched a sick animal,” said Dr. John M. Douglas, Executive Director of Tri-County Health.
Douglas said Marker did the right thing for her daughter.
“We try to err on the side of caution,” he said.
Marker made it clear she has no regrets.
“I know that it was worth it,” she said.
Health officials say avoid wild animals, especially if they are dead or appear sick. And they warn the rabies vaccine is costly if not covered by insurance, tens of thousands of dollars.