April 13, 2012- Fifty-three people, who were on board a flight in August of last year from Wisconsin, were possibly exposed to rabies. A bat flew through the aircraft’s cabin following takeoff said a government report released on Thursday detailing the incident. When the aircraft returned to the Wisconsin airport, the bat was able to escape capture. Therefore, officials were not able to determine if the animal was carrying the deadly rabies virus. However, none of the passengers was found to be infected.
Nevertheless, researchers from the CDC said health officials need to be prepared in case this type of event occurs in the future. Although any bat or other animal is rare on a plane, public health officials need to be prepared to respond if a crisis occurs. The researchers said that includes being able to treat patients while in flight.
The Atlanta bound plane in which the bat incident took place was nerve racking for all aboard. The bat flew numerous times through the aircraft’s cabin area before someone was able to trap it in the plane’s lavatory. When the plane landed and the passengers disembarked maintenance, workers removed the bat. However, the bat was able to elude them and escaped through the open cabin door. It flew into the airport’s terminal and out the automatic doors.
After the plane was searched, and no other bats were found, just 15 passengers re-boarded and took the flight, while the rest made alternative plans.