Children treated for rabies exposure

In an update regarding a recent bat incident with a 12-month-old boy, Salem City Health Commissioner Richard Setty said he was told by the family’s physician that the child and his siblings are receiving treatment.

Setty said Thursday that he learned the children are receiving the post-rabies exposure medication through Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, which he called good news.

He had told city health board members about the situation during their meeting Wednesday. The health department was trying to find some help for the family to receive the needed treatment since there was no way to test the bat to see if it was rabid or not.

He noted that they at least received some good information out of the situation. He learned that the manufacturers have an assistance program for people who may not be able to afford the cost of the necessary treatment for a possible rabies exposure.

The incident occurred in a rental home in the city on Nov. 12. Setty said that apparently two cats inside the home caught a bat and tore it apart, leaving pieces on the kitchen floor. The pieces were found and the 12-month-old boy had been taken to the living room and put on the floor to play. The mother noticed he had something in his mouth that he then spit out. It was described as “a small hairy ball with little tiny teeth in it.”

The mother called poison control, then took the child to the emergency room and eventually her family physician.

The health department wasn’t notified about the possible exposure until Nov. 27, according to Setty.