Updated: 08/20/2013 1:50 PM
Created: 08/19/2013 6:11 PM KSTP.com
By: Katherine Johnson
Doctors are seeing an increased number of bat exposure cases near Cambridge.
Last year, doctors at Cambridge Medical Center treated nine patients with the Rabies vaccine. There were four patients who needed the vaccine last week, alone.
"It's frightening, it's scary, no place to go now," said Mary Thompson.
Thompson has been hiding out at a friends house ever since she said she woke up to two bats flying around her Cambridge apartment.
"Seeing fluttering towards the end of my bed - up towards the ceiling..."
Since bat bites are small and can't be detected easily, Thompson went to Cambridge Medical Center to get the rabies vaccine and learned she's not the only one.
"When we had our four cases last week, we used our entire supply," said Emergency Physician Dr. Michael Kinnan.
Not only are there more cases of exposure, but the rabies vaccine is also made in limited supply with really only enough stocked in hospitals to treat one or two people.
"It's very difficult to manufacture and make," said Dr. Mark Thayer, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Cambridge Medical Center. "They generally will not allow us to stock in advance."
The Minnesota Dept. of Health advises those who have been exposed to or in contact with an animal carrying Rabies to seek treatment as soon as possible. The vaccine is more effective the sooner the person gets treated. The hospital called in more supply for Thompson and now she only has one more shot until she's finished - although she has a lot of other work ahead of her. Her doctors advised her to throw out any open containers of food in case of bat dropping. Rabies can only be transmitted from bats to humans through bites, but other diseases can be contracted by ingesting bat droppings, etc.
"Anything opened that was either opened, canned in a bag, container opened - that had to be pitched," said Thompson.
Doctors say even if you're exposed to a bat but don't think you've had a bite, still seek treatment.
"If there's an exposure or any question about exposure to any type of animal that may have rabies, the best would be to go ahead and obtain a health care provider's opinion," said Dr. Thayer.
"There are all these people who don't know - I did know," said Thompson.
Pest control workers in the metro tell us it's because most bats are born in the spring and by now, are teenagers. Just like your own teenage kids, they're curious and like to explore even if that means inside your home.