Rabies Scare In Kennedy Plaza

There's a rabies scare in downtown Providence. The warning is due to a man with a  bat in a box in Kennedy Plaza. Now, people there have been treated for rabies because they were exposed to this bat in a box.

You think of bats in caves that only come out at night, but you don't usually imagine a man walking through a busy bus station with a bat in a box. A bat the Department of Health said may have infected people with rabies. Two people have been treated so far.

Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence is home to a bustling bus station, a skating rink, and dozens of businesses. Now, it's also the site of a rabies scare.

“Rabies is a very deadly disease and once you have the symptoms, it's usually too late,” said He lath Department Spokesperson Peter Hanney, “You want to get treatment as soon as possible.”

This rabies concern started after a Latino man in his 50's with glasses and a beard was carrying a bat around Kennedy Plaza January 23rd. The bat in the box was handed off to two other people that day. It bit one of them and got away. Both of those people have been treated for rabies.       

“We don't know that this bat had rabies at all,” said Hanney, “Only five percent of them do, but it is a very deadly disease and it is a serious health issue.”

The bat escaped, so it couldn't be tested. People aren't usually tested for rabies, instead they're treated right away as a precaution.

The Health Department was alerted to this rabies scare by the doctor who treated the two victims. The last confirmed rabies case in Rhode Island was in the 1940s. A man died of rabies in Massachusetts just last month.